Boss Called My Wife A Bitch


Can I sue over the fact that my wife’s boss used that language to her?


Angry Husband


Dear Angry Husband:

You wouldn’t be able to sue about something said to your wife, because you aren’t the injured person in the situation. And, whether your wife could sue or not would depend upon a number of circumstances. If this is a one of many situations involving this type of behavior, your wife may wish to consult an attorney about the matter. Usually attorney’s will provide a free consultation over the phone.

We always advise people in such cases to look at the totality of the workplace and consider if this is something that happens often or was it a one-time angry moment–and what happened after that moment. Further, to consider if there was some aggravating behavior that contributed to a verbal altercation in the first place. It is also worthwhile to look at your wife’s response to the name calling–did she confront it, respond in a similar manner or laugh about it, as though it were a joke.

If her workplace is one that has upper managers, perhaps they should be notified. Your wife could write to the person who called her a name, to say how upsetting it was and to express that she would like to discuss it and get an apology and reassurance that it won’t happen again.

If things have been bad in every other way, this may be a situation your wife needs to leave. If she likes her job and things have generally gone well, she probably should try to work things out without legal action. That is a decision she will need to make, based on the large picture of her work.

Best wishes to her and to you in this challenging situation.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.