If I have body smell and get bullying in workplace, so it made me have depression, can I sue?

Location: California

Time: Bully period over 2 years

Current status: fried by the company said under performance 10 days ago.

History: Talked to HR about the bully situation but did not mention of my depression. Since California law does not allow tape recording without all parties consent, so HR said that there was no evidence to support. I have medical record to prove that my depression pill was assigned by doctor and keep taking since I was in that company

My feeling: I was bullied and kept my mouth close because of the job, I believed that I was under performance also because of them. Now I am no longer with the company, so I want to sue those people.

Restriction: I have no money, can lawyer get paid if they win?


  1. What I should do?

  2. Can I sue the specific people who make me have depression?

  3. My company have an benefit department who asked me to sign that they could provide support to me after I first met with them. I signed that and had a complaint to a couple people. However, the HR said no evidence to take action to those people. After that the bully was worst.

  4. I think that Depression is a type of disable. Can I sue them make me disable?

  • This is the second time you've asked a question about what to do when being bullied in the workplace, and again the question is off-topic as a request for specific legal advice. You clearly have additional issues to sort out, and they will require professional help of some kind, and we cannot give it to you.
    – user4657
    May 17, 2019 at 7:31
  • Try phoning around some lawyers. Initial consultation is generally free. Once they have the facts they will tell you if they can help. May 17, 2019 at 10:13

1 Answer 1


I don't think body odor or being timid falls under protected classes in US federal law, nor California law. However, you could still consult a lawyer with the details of the case and see what they say.

I would say that your obstacles are:

  • Proving that the bullying happened
  • Proving that it was significant and not just occasional/mild
  • Proving that it caused the depression
  • Proving that you were fired because of the depression

If you could overcome all of these, I think you could argue that you were discriminated against due to your mental problem, which might fall under the ADA and related law. But it seems to me like it would be a hard argument to make. It's only realistic if you have been visiting a psychologist who has been treating you for depression over the bullying, and/or if you have the bullying in writing or on record (the latter part is doubtful since in CA it's illegal to record people without consent). Otherwise I don't see how you could convince the court. But once again, don't take my word for it - consult a lawyer (and make sure to prepare your evidence beforehand and bring it, because they will definitely ask you).

Restriction: I have no money, can lawyer get paid if they win?

Yes. But consider why lawyers take on cases without pay.

  • You are very likely to win and be awarded damages from which the lawyer can get his own pay. (your case doesn't sound very strong)
  • The lawyer would get a lot of prestige from winning the case and attract many more clients, which is more valuable than the fee. (yours doesn't sound like this, but who knows)
  • They want to help people who are suffering from gross injustice due to poverty. (your situation sounds unjust, but not that bad)

So you are not likely to find a lawyer interested in doing this without pay. If you really think you have a good case, you could borrow money and pay a lawyer - but obviously you shouldn't do that unless you know what you're doing. In any case, go look up employment law lawyers in your area that do free consultations, and go talk to them. They might not take the case, but at least you'll get a clear idea about your legal situation.

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