What can I do about an unsafe workplace and slander?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What can I do about an unsafe workplace and slander?

I am an hourly employee in CA and according to law I cannot answer phone calls, emails or texts unless I clock-in and get paid. This new director tells me that I have to ontact her no matter what, she works out of IL which has different laws. So she is upset with me because I haven’t responded but when I am at work she calls me and yells at me saying that she does not appreciate not contacting her and this is

Asked on April 29, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) This is not an "unsafe workplace"--that refers to physical risks or threats, which this is not.
2) Stress is not "valid" grounds--legally, that is--to quit. Certainly, quitting due to stress may be the best decision for you as a person, but the workplace is allowed to be highly stressful--there is no law protecting you from stress at work. Therefore, they did nothing wrong in making it stressful and there is no recourse. There is also no recourse for health impacts due to stress: this country being "employment at will," you are expected to seek a different job if you don't want to or can't put up with the demands at your current workplace, and if you stay at the job, subjecting yourself to stress, that is viewed as your own choice and there is no compensation for it.
3) Legally, your employer may threaten you job--employment is "employment at will" in this country. There is no right to or guaranty of a job, and the employer may actually terminate you or simply threaten to terminate you whenever they want.
4) Defamation is only making false statements of fact about you to other people, which damage your reputation. Opinions are NOT defamation. Your worth ethic is a subjective value judgment, not an objective fact: it is an opinion. Questioning your worth ethic or your quality as an employee, etc. is not defamation. Defamation would be something like accusing you of embezzling or stealing from work, when you did not; or of using illegal drugs, when you do not; etc.--i.e. an accusation of a provable fact, not a judgment.
5) If you were hourly and did any work for which you were not paid, you may make a wage-and-hour claim for the unpaid work time to the departmet of labor.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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