My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: California
The Short Version:
- My boss has created an uncomfortable work environment - hostile may be a bit harsh, but I'm miserable and afraid to speak my mind or even interact with him.
- Job is becoming increasingly stressful because of workload and boss's unprofessional/childish angst. I feel like I'll be fired, or my situation will only get much worse if I don't work off the clock to get things done.
- I have more work, much of it with deadlines, than I can complete in 40 hrs. I'm the only employee that can do it. So I put in anywhere from 50 to sometimes even 70 hours every week, while only being paid for about 43 or so.
- My boss basically looks the other way, knowing (at least having a very good idea) that I put in much more time than I report.
- Overtime has been cut entirely - I still get a little here and there, but it's not anywhere close to how much I actually work.
- The company has the money, they've been investing a lot lately, but there isn't a raise system (nobody gets raises at all), and we don't even get CoLA raises.
Do I have any recourse if I am fired for "poor" performance?
Beyond legal implications/generally speaking, any advice or input? I've been planning on talking to my boss during my 6-month employee evaluation (yup, two evals every year, but no chance at a raise).
I realize I can get myself and my employer in trouble for working off the clock, or that it can lead to termination, but that's not my question.
I've been with my company for over 3 years now (9 months as a temp), and my job has become increasingly difficult and stressful over the last year. My boss and I used to be friends outside of work, but our relationship has deteriorated; he's unprofessional, questions everything I do, pays little attention to the work I actually do until it's time to jerk and passive-aggressively (or actually aggressive), express his displeasure with the work I'm doing, or in his opinion, not doing. I'm a developer, he's not and has never been, he has little understanding of what my job is like and doesn't understand how things can take much longer than originally anticipated. He gets that things sometimes don't work out according to plan, and that some things can take a while, but he's increasingly hanging his hat on this idea that he can demand "accurate" time estimates and then hold me to the fire with them.
Lately I've tried to avoid him as much as possible because every interaction leaves me feeling worse and less secure in my position. He lashes out, and will snap at me (he does so to others, but I'm his favorite target), often in front of others, and rather than enrage him further to only have the situation feel more uncomfortable, I just keep my mouth shut. He used to have a lot of faith and trust in me, but it's the opposite now as he disregards my opinions, is constantly contentious, and is a contrarian to almost everything that comes from me; before, he'd come to me with anything and everything, but lately he limits face-to-face communication with me to the bare minimum. I can't challenge a single thing he says or idea he has or else he snaps back like a teenager, and instantly dismisses what I have to say - situations escalate seconds. He actually used to be the best boss I had ever had, but now he's under a lot of pressure, working multiple positions, and I've become his whipping boy. I now hate my job and dread coming in, especially when I have to interact with him. Others have seen and commented on how poorly he treats me, they discuss how he snaps at me and is visibly angry and unhappy with my performance. He rubs many people the wrong way and a lot of coworkers avoid working with him because he can be so crass and volatile.
I live in fear of public humiliation, and losing my job because I'm asked to do more than I can do. It's not because I'm a bad employee by any means - I'm excellent at my job and a very hard worker - it's just nuanced and time consuming work, and there's a lot of it. I keep telling myself I only need to do this until I can get caught up, but I'm losing faith that will happen. My plan was to just work my butt off until it was all done, a kind of "I'll show him!" approach, but I'm not sure I'll last that long before either he or I give out. I feel like I'll be able to level with him eventually, but every time I do, things only slightly improve for a little while before getting worse than before. I'm miserable, and the long hours are taking a toll on my health and my relationships with my family and girlfriend. I sacrifice so much more than just time, and my other obligations are constantly neglected.
I think the main thing I'm hoping to get out of this post is any possible insurance of broaching this topic with my boss and having some form of legal backing - even if it hurts me as well. If he's confronted with how miserable I am and how hard I've been working, I believe he'll be empathetic and reconsider his stance (he does recognize when he's gone too far and acts apologetic, though he never admits he was wrong). All I want is to not hate coming into work every day...
Thanks in advance, or for even reading a fraction of my novel... I'm totally open for suggestions for a more applicable forum or site I should be posting this.