Are good working relationships better for employers or employees?  After all, good relationships between employees and supervisors can be helpful for productivity. When employees are satisfied with their jobs they tend to work better. What employer wouldn’t want that?

Unfortunately, some workers have to deal with constant adversarial relationships with their supervisors. This may lead to continual disagreements, a substantial level of dissatisfaction in the workplace, and ultimately the loss of a job. 

An employee may want to pursue a lawsuit against their former employer after being unceremoniously dismissed or being subjected to a prickly supervisor’s constant barbs. However, a key question in these disputes is whether the employer’s (or supervisor’s) behavior is actionable as a matter of law. Many plaintiffs automatically believe that if a supervisor is rude or disrespectful, such behavior can form the basis of a lawsuit.

Unfortunately, the law does not require supervisors to be warm, kind or understanding. With that, claims against an employer for not being nice may not be actionable under California law. However, if it can be shown that this type of behavior is directed towards people of a protected class, or is based on a person’s feelings about such a class, an employment discrimination suit may be way to seek a remedy.

Indeed, it is not always easy to determine when rude statements or prickly personalities cross the line from questionable management to illegal discrimination. Because of this, it is prudent to discuss your situation with an experienced employment law attorney.

The preceding is not legal advice.