If I constantly feel degraded at work, what canI do?

UPDATED: Dec 19, 2011

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If I constantly feel degraded at work, what canI do?

I have started here at this truck service company about 2 months ago. I am the only girl who works in this department. I made an honest mistake today and apologized to my boss. He said I wasn’t smart enough and said Iwas not being sincere to him. After yelling at me, he asked me to run errands. I felt emotionally unstable; I cried because I could not understand the situation. I worked really hard to earn a Bachelors Degree in business administration but I am working as a receptionist/errand runner/personal assistant all together for $9/hour. After all the education I was put through, because of the economy, this was the only job that called me back. And today wasn’t the only day I felt degraded. I was yelled at a couple times in front of customers because I couldn’t do something fast enough since I couldn’t understand what he was saying. I feel uncomfortable and am having a hard time to even type this because I know this is our only source of income. How else would I provide for my family? Should I quit? What happens if I do? Do I have any rights in this matter?

Asked on December 19, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The question is whether you are being degraded at work because you are a woman or not. The law does not require employers to generally be fair or reasonable or professional to their employees--but it does prohibit sex-based discrimination or harassment. So if you are being harassed because of mistakes you have made or how you act, then even if the amount of abuse you take is unfair in proportion to the errors or behavior, you may be able to do nothing about it; but if you are being singled out for worse treatmeent because you a woman, that is illegal and you may have a cause of action or claim. From what you write, it would be worthwhile for  you to consult with an employment law attorney about your situation, to evaluate whether you do have a case. Good luck.

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