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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default to Know if I Have Any Legal Recourse with Harassment from My Boss

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Louisiana

    I really need some help here and I no longer know what to do. The problem is that I'm not sure where to even start because this is something that goes back years with many different people (caused by managers and owners).

    I think I'll address just what my current Director has been doing, though there's alot more than that that goes back to the Director before him and has to do with a coworker stealing thousands of dollars in commission, getting away with it, and more.

    Everyone in my department hates him with a passion. Every single one of us has gone to HR over the way he talks to us and how he treats us. Yes, he's rude, condescending, tactless. Every one of us is afraid to go in to work because its "what are we going to get into trouble now for?". Every single email he sends us boils down to "If you don't do what I say, I'm going to write you up, suspend you, or terminate you". He even says "you will be documented" in meetings. Yet we don't do anything to deserve it. We don't mouth off, we don't come and go when we feel like, each of us has emails and phone calls from customers that have sent to him about how wonderful we all are.

    Now, every time we leave for lunch, we have to email him, and then when we come back. Sometimes its hard to get back in a half hour, so my coworker asked him if we could take our legally entitled 15 minute break (its in the employee handbook that we are supposed to get the 15 min and a half hour if we're on an 8 hr shift), and he said yes but then laid into us for doing what he said we could tell telling us that he's "being very tolerant allowing us to do that, so we should be grateful and stop doing it". He even gave us a three page memo that he made us sign saying that if we work overtime, we won't get paid, and where every single point ended with a version of "if you don't do this, you will be documented (his word for being written up), suspended, or terminated".

    I can't count the number of times I've gone home screaming or crying in the car after work because of yet something else that he's said or done.

    My coworker is having horrible nightmares about opening the door to the building, it being pitch black inside, and a woman screaming in the blackness. I had a stomach ache for three weeks straight until I went to the COO about my Director and I thought things would improve. That was two weeks ago.

    But what's prompted me to come here is what happened on Thursday.

    A little background...

    The first time a Supervisor position came up in my department, it was a different Director managing it, and I was interviewed for it. The commission thief (who used to be the Supervisor but left about a year and a half ago of her own volition) found out that I had complained about her thievery and sent out a nasty email full of lies about me printing her emails and handing them out around the office. Needless to say, I didn't get the job. It went to a coworker that had been in the industry for 6 months, and had no experience in the industry before that.

    The second time the job came up, they brought in my current Director as the Supervisor rather than hire me because of what had happened with the commission thief.

    The third time a job came up, my current Director was promoted, and I was interviewed, but the job went to someone from one of the hotels, so they again brought someone in from the outside. I had to teach him how to do his job.

    The fourth time a job came up in the company, no one was even informed that it was being filled, the girl just suddenly showed up and had been hired by one of the owners.

    The last time a job came up, it was last Wednesday. This time for a Supervisor position. My coworker said she wasn't going to apply for it, but suddenly had a surprise interview for the job. I had an interview 15 minutes later. She had the job 3 hours after that even though she's consistently late, often calls in sick, and I have seniority. Which makes me wonder if someone has told my Director that I reported him so they could get the job, and he decided to be vindictive in spite of the company policy against that behavior.

    And whats worse is that I started crying because I was so livid at my desk, and was basically threatened by my new "Supervisor" that if I continue to act like that there would be repercussions. And she told my Director who sent me an email dripping with condescension about how I'm being "voicetrous" and we will discuss it on Monday.

    I think I'm about to get fired, or forced out of the office to work at one of the hotels (I can't do that because I physically can't stand for hours on end due to a car accident in 2004, so they would be forcing me to quit).

    Now my stomach hurts, and I'm constantly fighting back tears, and shaking, because I'm just so angry and humiliated at this company for doing this to me yet again. Its like a massive tease. They're trying to give the appearance of being fair and unbiased, but nothing ever gets better, and they are anything but.

    What I want to do is quit. I love working in my industry, and could never have imagined leaving before I started working here. But I'm to the point that if I EVER have to go near any place resembling it again, I think I'm going to lose it. And he is forcing me out. I can't keep working like this but jobs are so hard to find, and I need to pay bills. I don't know what to do. I'm actually scared to go back to work.

    Please help. And please excuse me if these are extra details. I thought you should know as much as you can so you can make an informed opinion. Is there anything I can legally do in this situation? Does this sound like an harassment claim? Or a discrimination claim? Or anything that could legally help me get a settlement so I can quit and take some time off to recover without going bankrupt?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,894

    Default Re: to Know if I Have Any Legal Recourse with Harassment from My Boss

    I am, honestly, not seeing anything illegal here.

    Your options are to put up with it, or quit.

    If you quit, you likely will not get UI.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: to Know if I Have Any Legal Recourse with Harassment from My Boss

    I note you said you had to sign a memo agreeing that you would not get paid if you work overtime. OT may not be waived by agreement between the employer and employees. (see link below) If you are a non-exempt employee & entitled to OT, it must be paid.

    http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs23.pdf

    This doesn't sound like a great place to work. You might want to look for other employment. Do not quit though until you have another job. If you quit, you most likely will not get UI.

    If they terminate you, then definitely file for UI. Your chances of getting it will be much better but the state makes the final decision whether you are entitled to it or not.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,894

    Default Re: to Know if I Have Any Legal Recourse with Harassment from My Boss

    Missed the part about the OT. Thank you, Betty.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,521

    Default Re: to Know if I Have Any Legal Recourse with Harassment from My Boss

    FYI, you are not LEGALLY entitled to a 15 minute break, or a break at all. Neither Federal nor Louisiana law requires any breaks, of any length, of any kind. I understand that you are entitled to them by company policy and that's fine. I think every employee should be allowed a break and if I were the Secretary of Labor they would be. I don't know how strictly the state of Louisiana holds an employer to the company handbook, but breaks are not a LEGAL entitlement.

    Your boss sounds to be what is called an "Equal Opportunity Jerk". Even of the world-class order. You have my sympathies; I've worked for one of them. Unfortunately for both you and me, it is not illegal and does not give one legal recourse.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    OH10
    Posts
    17,019

    Default Re: to Know if I Have Any Legal Recourse with Harassment from My Boss

    If you act like a child, you get fired or treated like a child.
    sometimes its hard to get back in a half hour
    Why would I want to promote someone who can't even tell time? If my employees act like they are in high school, I treat them like they are in high school. If I pay you to send me emails, so you don't steal time, that is your job assignment. If you want a job where you are free to steal time, leave and become self employed. You would likely last about 1 week working for me. If I promote the best of the worst, you can bet it is because I feel I will get better mileage out of their incompetence. Don't think I am not looking to replace them if something better comes my way though.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: to Know if I Have Any Legal Recourse with Harassment from My Boss

    I thought I'd let you know the decision on the matter. After extensive discussion with my husband, I'm going to resign on Monday effective immediately. My husband is worried about my health because my stress level is so high and has said that he'd rather things be strapped for us than me end up in the hospital. Things will be hard on us until I find another job, but we will survive. Until that time I'm signing up for a bunch of work at home sites like elance so we can get some money coming in.

    My stomach is actually starting to un-knot.

    Legal recourse or not, it's better than having nightmares about going in to work. Thank you all very much for your help.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: to Know if I Have Any Legal Recourse with Harassment from My Boss

    You're welcome & the best of luck to you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,521

    Default Re: to Know if I Have Any Legal Recourse with Harassment from My Boss

    Sometimes you have to make that kind of decision. Your health is much more important than any job. I wish you well.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    OH10
    Posts
    17,019

    Default Re: to Know if I Have Any Legal Recourse with Harassment from My Boss

    Good luck. Hopefully you find a job that is more in your comfort zone.

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