Can/should I sue my boss for calling me derogatory names?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can/should I sue my boss for calling me derogatory names?

I work for a really small production company that does beauty pageants across the country. Its owned by a married couple and i am one of two employees the other being their daughter. I got the job thinking it was a a little part time job. Last week, however, I worked almost 65 hours in a 4 day period to receive $410; 1 day I worked 15 hours with 20 minutes of down time. The rest was spent standing and getting screamed at for not being able to keep my boss out of frame while standing directly in front of the camera. When I don’t complete their very vague and usually impossible tasks I am called either dumbass, dumb fag (they know I’m gay), idiot, fucking idiot, etc. Their daughter who is 5 months pregnant is called the same things. These people are insane, they never stop yelling or arguing at

echoer or me and its wearing thin already and I’m in my third week of working here.

Asked on January 24, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Generally, an employer may be as rude, abusive, mean, unprofessional, etc. as it likes. The exception, however, is that they may not discriminate against or harass an employee over certain specifically protected characteristics One of those is sex, which the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission considers to include discrimination or harassment basd on sexual orientation. So whle most of their nasty behavior/comments is legal, harassing you because (making derogatory comments about) you are gay may be a vioation of federal anti-discrimination law (e.g. Title VII). A good thing for you to do would be to contact the EEOC about this behavior; they may be able to help you without you having to hire (i.e. pay for) your own attorney.

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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