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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Default Difficult boss and complicated termination story

    Well here is my story.

    I worked for a candle supply company, I was hired in July of 2004, actually my fiance and I both started work the same day. I worked in the office taking and processing online and phone orders. He worked in a different department. We seen each other only on the way to and from work, 2- ten minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch.

    When I first started I thought the place was kind of peculiar. People were scared, scared to talk, scared to have an opinion, scared to suggest things. You name it the whole place walked on eggshells. My immediate supervisor had the whole office tip toeing through the day. It was clear if she had a problem with you, then you were singled out. At first we kinda hit it off, until I realized that the so called training they gave me was not even training. She tired of my questions, which I was also getting sick of myself. There was not policy or procedures manual to refer to, and memos were rarely sent regarding a change in procedure (in fact only two memo’s were sent during my employment, and they were regarding lunch times for office employees) If the office manager had something to say about your work or your performance or office procedures each office employee was sent an Inner office message. (A sorry excuse for management from having to deal with employee’s on a face to face basis) I am sure the original intentions of the office messenger were meant well, but I think the company used it more to there advantage than anything.

    Basically if office workers weren’t processing orders, then we were to package candle supplies. Which one day I was doing. I had just put down my work to pull my hair back into a pony tail and stretch my back. I turned back around to pick up my work, and there was a message on my computer screen it read “If you can’t find something, then clock out and go home” That really upset me, so I went to find out why I had received that message. The office manager said that she didn’t send it, that it was my supervisor. I asked her why she sent it because she could see that I was working. She made a mistake and sent it to the wrong person. Well the person she had intended to send it to, was someone that she always got on and singled out, I told her that everyone in that office is doing something. Well the supervisor was getting uncontrollably disturbed because that employee was talking and working. This employee also had been an employee there for at least 5+ years, they just didn’t get along.

    Not too long after I was hired, they hired two new employees same situation as my fiance and I, they were married and she worked in my department, and he worked in the same department with my fiance. Well about after a month of so after she started she found out she was pregnant. And her Dr instructed her that he job was stressful for her and her baby, and sent a note to cut her hours. They told her that they couldn’t cut her hours, she was hired full time and she was needed full time. They told her that she had to work or quit. She didn’t quit, they called her in to the office managers office and fired her at 4:55pm. They got away with it because she was still on a 90 day probation. She was fired because she was pregnant.

    At that time I know I needed to find another job and was searching, but nothing was available or I wasn’t qualified. So I kept working, and continued to witness the singling out of employees, the mistreatment of employees.

    The owners have a dog that was never on a leash in the office or in the warehouses. One day a girl from the same department as my fiance was on her way to lunch the dog was running back to the office and clipped her leg while she was coming down a ramp and knocked her down. She blew out her knee and an ambulance was sent to take her to the hospital. She was off for a long time, and just before she came back a poster was put up on the board regarding unsafe working conditions, I guess it was a stipulation by WC. The day she came back the dog was put on a leash and was always on a leash when she was at work, if she didn’t come in the dog had full run of the buildings. They gave her the worst jobs, and yet she came to work and did her job. Then right before xmas they told her that they didn’t need her anymore. I am not sure if they fired her or laid her off. But she was the only person that got laid off.

    I was getting tired of the IM’s that I was getting, and started to copy and paste the messages and send them to my personal email. I asked the office manager to deal with me in person if she had a problem regarding my work. She never did. On my first evaluation after my 90 day probation period. I received a 50 cent raise, so I was doing my job and doing it well. I had a disagreement about some over time and inquired to my supervisor. Basically, for Thanksgiving break we were getting Thursday off and if we got all the orders processed then we were going to get Friday off. So they had us all working from 7:30 am to 5:30 or even to 6:30 pm. Putting in these long days so that we could get a four day weekend. Everyone was kinda stoked cause of all these OT hours. Basically based on my check stubs the overtime was given for each hour over the typical 8 hour day. Because I was receiving OT pay when I didn’t have a full 40 hour week. But for that week OT was considered for OT over 40 hours per week. There was talk among employees that all those hours were for regular pay. Well I didn’t know that employers could change there payroll procedures like that. So I inquired. I was the last person to take the last phone call I had finished taking the order and walked over to the time clock and punched out and was on my way out when I remembered I was going to inquire about the OT. They office manager and my immediate supervisor both told me that we were not going to get any OT pay for that week. I expressed that I thought that was wrong and asked about when we were to come in the following day, and they told me 7:30. I said I would see them at 8:30 am since we weren’t getting OT pay. I said it jokingly, but wanted to let them know that I felt it was wrong. And I left, I showed up the next day to work when I was instructed. I received an IM from the Office Manager that she got the OT changed and she had been trying to do it for years and that everyone would be getting OT pay. Hmmm, why didn’t she just tell me when they informed everyone else. Well there was not formal announcement made, but we did get our OT pay.

    Well a couple of weeks later the stress was getting to me, we were working late again, but they never told you about working late until 15 minutes before we were to punch out. That got old, my neck and jaw were stiff from the stress. I kind of got into it with a co-worker because I questioned if we were getting a break. You see they started you at 7:30am so they didn’t have to give you an extra break. Our regular breaks were at 10am, if you were lucky to get one, lunch was at 12 noon, and the last break was at 3pm, well they started us at 7:30 and we weren’t going to get off until 6pm. And I inquired about a break. I didn’t get much of a break earlier and I needed a cigarette. Not the healthiest of things to do on a break but when its stressful you look forward to that break. Well my supervisor said in a really condescending voice that we only have a half hour more. It wasn’t the fact that we had to work late it was how she talked to me. If she would have said in a professional matter that we were only working 30 min more I wouldn’t have gotten so upset. Well that’s when my co worker piped in and said that the owner wanted us to work late so just do it. I snapped back at her and said to mind her own business. That was the extent of out disagreement. The next day I called in sick. I seen a doctor and she confirmed that the stress was causing my neck and jaw to hurt. She gave me some papers on stress relief, and things to do to help relieve the stress. She also gave me a note for work. I felt bad that I had gotten into it with my co-worker and when I got to work we talked it out and everything was ok. I was then called into the Office Managers office where my immediate supervisor , the office manager, and the owner were in there. I sat down and they wanted me to sign a paper regarding my behavior on that day. I explained to them that I was stressed and that what had happened between my supervisor could have been avoided had she used good judgement and a different tone of voice in her response. I understood that we were all stressed but I wouldn’t sign the paper. I didn’t agree with it. They also put on the paper regarding me questioning the OT weeks earlier and that I was disrespecting the office manager and my supervisor when I told them that I wouldn’t be in till 8:30 am. I told him he had to be kidding, because I showed up when I was told and I also expressed my opinion after I had punched out. I also said if there was a problem then why didn’t they do something then, but instead, I was sent an IM telling me in the nicest way that we were getting OT pay.. ( was an afterthought and a poor attempt to get rid of me) They again asked me to sign the paper and I refused. They said regardless if I sign it, it was going into my personnel file. I said fine do it, asked them if there was anything else. They said no, I asked if I could go back to work. I know it really upset them because The owner was in this meeting and I called them on everything.

    I was actually planning on informing the Owners on the happenings in the office, in hopes that things would be better, well after realizing that the owner actually encouraged this kind of treatment I felt that it was hopeless. SO I started copying and pasting the IM”s I was getting, and sending them to my email. Well in Feb 28 was not different, other than I got fired. I received and IM, while I was on the phone, I didn’t have time to read it and I just copied it and pasted it to the email. Finished the order and read the IM, It was regarding a office procedure. Not more than 10 minutes after that email was sent to my personal email. The office manager came to my desk and told me to punch out and go home, That the owner was tired of it. I said tired of what? She said emailing myself. I said fine. Grabbed my stuff and punched out, I went back to tell my fiance and he left with me.

    I did get Unemployment. The company said they had warned me about emailing my self. I told UI that they never did. UI inquired about the paperwork from the company and they didn’t have anything on file regarding a warning. So I was awarded Unemployment.

    I also strongly believe that the owner can look to see what each employee is doing on their PC, because I was told by my new immediate super that he had those capabilities. Because he was questioning if we were working because our computer desktops were on the company webpage. We were working, on packaging supplies. This place was a hell hole. I am thankful that I don’t have to see these people on a daily basis anymore. But it has affected me, it has eaten away at my confidence and has depressed me. I haven’t worked since then, after my Unemployment was used up I quit looking for work. People don’t want to hire someone that has been fired. First and only time I have been fired. I know they can’t base that on whether or not they hire you but if you had to choose between someone that was recently fired and someone that hasn’t who would you pick. I have asked myself that question and I realized that I wouldn’t hire me because of it.

    If I have a case please let me know what I can do.

    Sorry this was so long but I wanted to get as much across as possible. I left a lot of instances out , and I still have the IM’s.

    The other day I seen the office manager and instead of that look she gave me while working for them. She actually looked scared. Made me think if maybe I either had a case or if she was just scared I was gonna catch her outside and treat her like a government mule…


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Treated Badly By Employer

    It is difficult to tell if you have any allegation of unlawful treatment buried somewhere in that account of generally bad management and supervision. Being an obnoxious boss isn't actionable, and you appear to have been an at-will employee (or, at least, haven't said anything which would suggest that you were not at-will.) Have you read this article on the wrongful termination of at-will employment?

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