Can I sue my employer for discrimination and emotional distress due to his behavior towards me?

UPDATED: Feb 12, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Feb 12, 2012Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I sue my employer for discrimination and emotional distress due to his behavior towards me?

My employer is concstantly picking on me. He asks if I speak English. He slapped my hand the other day like I’m a child or something. I have more examples of his behavior toward me. Do I have a legal reason to sue him? Can I get a pro-bono attorney for my case? I’ve been working for him 11 months now. I am a server.

Asked on February 12, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, employers may harass and cause emotional distress to their employees. The only exception is that they may not discriminate or harass on the basis of race, religion, age over 40, sex, or disability under federal law; Washington State adds several other categories which are protected, of which only one seems like it may be relevant to your situation: national origin. If you believe you are suffering harassment due to one of these classifications, you could file a complaint with your state's Human Rights Commission or else meet with an attorney about possibly filing a lawsuit. (Note: when there is illegal discrimination, the employee may be able to win attorney's fees, so he or she would not have to pay for a lawyer; since many attorneys provide a free initial consultation to discuss a case, it would be worthwhile to meet with a lawyer and discuss this possibility.)

If you want to file a complaint with the state, here's a website that may be helpful:

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption