California’s law protects employees not only from so-called ultimate employment actions such as termination or demotion, but also from any adverse employment action – i.e. the entire range of employment actions that are likely to have a substantial negative impact on an employee’s job or career.
Although offensive or rude comments or even repeated social slights by an employer or co-workers may not be viewed as sufficient to negatively impact an employee’s job or career, the law is designed to have a broad reach in order to protect employees against employment discrimination.
Minor or trivial actions by employers or co-workers that, from an objective perspective, are likely to do no more than upset an employee are considered insufficient to negatively impact an employee’s job or career. The antidiscrimination laws were not designed to protect against such minor or trial actions. See, Yanowitz v. L’Oreal USA, Inc. (2005) 36 Cal.4th 1028, 1053–1055.