When does bullying your subordinates become harassment when you are a 1099 employee?

Asked 10 months ago - Sacramento, CA

I am an independent insurance agent that is a 1099 worker. One of the supervisors, or "Coordinators" that works in my office bullies his subordinates, or "team members." Specifically, he threatens to have them fired, if they do not meet his team goals, or does not follow the rules that he sets forth. He leads new agents to believe this is possible, which it is not, but they are not aware of it. Many of the agents on his team are scared and unsure what is right or wrong and they fear being in "trouble" or being fired for not following his "rules" or meeting goals. Does this constitute harassment, or misclassification of employee status? The supervisors above this person in the corporation state that they cannot do anything about it, is this true?

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Malosack Berjis

    Contributor Level 20

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You need to repost your inquiry under the practice area of "Employment," so that it can be viewed by attorneys who practice in that area.

    Ms. Berjis is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The laws of your jurisdiction may differ and... more
  2. Alan Ray Barnes

    Contributor Level 18

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . A hostile work environment is a form of workplace harassment. And harassment is only illegal if it is directed against a member of a protected class (for example, if it is based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetic information, or it is in retaliation for complaints of illegal conduct.

    Being a jerk is bad management, but it isn't illegal.

  3. Christopher John Gansen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It depends how the harassment takes place and how far it goes. In CA of course you're always allowed to stop working for this organization and get work elsewhere.

  4. Michael David Myers

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Really depends on why the bullying is taking place.

  5. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Unlikely

  6. Christine C McCall

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Re: "...Specifically, he threatens to have them fired, if they do not meet his team goals, or does not follow the rules that he sets forth. He leads new agents to believe this is possible, which it is not..."

    Threats to terminate workers for failure to meet productivity standards are not unlawful. If you are correct that it is not possible for agents to be fired from this employment on this basis, that impossibility is because of internal optional work rules, not because of legal constraints. Under CA law, any employer may terminate workers for any reason except a statutorily prohibited reason or a reason that violates public policy. Termination on the basis of failure to meet productivity measures, without more, would not violate either of these prohibitive standards.

    There may indeed be a misclassification issue here, but it is unlikely that there is a viable claim for harassment or other unlawful employer conduct. Even so, you would be well advised to let these agents sort out their own work situations and potential claims. You have few if any protections in these circumstances, and you will not improve anyone else's situation by getting fired your own self.

    No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended... more

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.

 

Ask now

28,196 answers this week

3,129 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

28,196 answers this week

3,129 attorneys answering