Can I sue the President/CEO of the company I work for?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I sue the President/CEO of the company I work for?

The CEO/President of the company I work for is known for insulting people on a daily basis employees, vendors, customers, etc He will talk about someone’s weight, race, etc without a care in the world and feels that it is ok because he is the owner and if you don’t like it there’s the door. I have him on recording during a managers meeting where he spent almost 10 minutes, talking about my weight, the race and weight of my husband, etc. I want to know do I have a case? Can I sue him for this? It has to stop, and I am not the only one he insults. It’s not right and you should never have to come to work every day wondering how many times you will be insulted by the president of the company.

Asked on December 27, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

An employer may insult people over many things safely: their weight, for example, or the groups they belong to, level of schooling or education, fashion sense, preferred hobbies or TV shows, etc. BUT there are some things that you cannot insult or harass employees over, because the law specifically prohibits it: race, color, age 40 or over, national origin, sex, disability, religion (or in your state, also over someone's veteran status, genetic information, marital status, & sexual orientation). If someone does harass--for example, insult--someone over these protected categories, that is illegal employment discrimation. Since you write that the employer employer insults people over their race, any employee who suffers such racially based insults or harassments could contact either the federal EEOC or your state's equal/civil rights agency to file a complaint. Being the company owner does NOT exempt you from anti-discrimination law.

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.

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