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Can I sue for sexual harassment and racism?

San Clemente, CA |

My brother and sister work at a local "Superstore". We are Arab. The managers and supervisors call my brother a "Osama [bin laden]", "terrorist" and tell him "don't rob the store" and there was an incident where the computer said employee needs to be validated before using the computer, and assistant store manager made a comment, "Your people should be used to that". They have complained to the Store Manager, but she did not do anything. Store Manager hugs my brother against his will, and slaps his butt, and another incident where my sister walked in for the employee meeting and the SM made a comment in front of many male employees and a few females. It was cold outside and the SM took one look at her and says," Hey there, POKEY", My sister was humiliated and laughed at by everyone.


Attorney Answers 5

  1. From what you have stated, they may have claims of sexual and racial harassment (as well as other related claims). They need to consult with a plaintiff-side employment lawyer as soon as possible.

    Afshin Mozaffari, Esq.
    12100 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 800
    Los Angeles, CA 90025
    Telephone: (323) 696-0702
    Facsimile: (323) 546-3466

    *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Afshin Mozaffari provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange.***

  2. Besides being disgusting it certainly sounds like your brother and sister are being targeted and discriminated against (hostile work environment) due to their race. I would recommend that they contact an attorney who specializes in EEOC discrimination cases.

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  3. if I understand your question, you are asking if YOU can sue for sexual harassment and racism because your brother and sister are being subjected to inappropriate conduct. If that is your question, the answer is no. You cannot sue because someone else is being treated wrongfully.

    Based on what you report, it may well be that your brother and sister have been harassed on the basis of their race or national origin. Their first act should be to report the harassment to the HR department of the company for which they work. If that reporting does not cause an immediate and complete end to the harassment, they should consult with an employment attorney to determine what rights they have for a lawsuit against their employer.

    Good luck to you and to them.

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  4. Based on your question, YOU don't have a cause of action because of something your siblings experienced. In addition, for sexual harassment to be unlawful in the workplace it has to be either severe or pervasive. Your siblings should complain about the conduct and if the company does not investigate it and make it stop, they may have valid claims. If the conduct persists, have them contact an employment law attorney.

  5. It is appalling that such behavior is engaged in by employers and I am sorry to learn that your brother and sister are being treated this way at work. While you may not be able to personally file a lawsuit on the basis of the way your brother and sister are being treated, I would strongly suggest that you encourage them to contact an attorney member of the California Employment Lawyers Association ( Depending on when the events took place, they should be aware that strict deadlines apply and that they should act immediately to protect their right to bring their claims.

    Legal disclaimer: Avvo is a free service that enables you to obtain general information, not legal advice. My responses to questions on Avvo are not intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established by the execution of a written agreement for legal services. You can reach me at (805) 845-9630 or learn more about our firm at

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