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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 33505
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I am an educated female mid manger working for a major aerospace

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I am an educated female mid manger working for a major aerospace firm on a large Cali. airforce base, working on the most expensive military aircraft program. I was hired and the company moved me here to perform specific duties based on many years experience. One early Performance review was fine, have not got another one yet, but should be as well.
6 mos into job, the company brings a Sr level guy here to oversee the entire division. Hehas never had any experience in this field, I am one of his 2 direct reports.
The problem started when this man decides to go around me, and directly to my supervisors and hourly people giving them directions without my knowledge or envolvement. Yet he and the Senior mgmt still holds me responsible to the customer for the outcome of my areas of responsibility.
We have meet and talked about this many time, explained that he has undermined my authority with my folks, but he is a military guy and just smooths it over, going right back to this behavior and worse.
I saught advice from HR, but it was not much help, we had a meeting with both of us present which did nothing to change this problem. I contacted the SR. director a second time about this issues, he is also former military, for his assistance, but had nothing to say, but did say "Sternly" I should not have gone to HR about this...

Another 5 months has gone by, the problem is so bad it makes my job all but impossible, fixing his mistakes, correcting my people is tough. Company emails clearly showing his disrespect for me, and my position.

For the past 6 months I have applied for other internal positions around the country, these two men have to approve these application and are in the loop.. I have been on one interview thaat was ironically the same group my Manager can from.. I did not get the position.. There is obvious favorites in this good old boy club, with catered interviews that I had to attend and provide input on, and against all advice or qulification, were promoted anyway by this senior staff..

The final straw was 2 weeks ago.. As mentioned, I apply for positions all the time within my company and outside as well. There was a position listed with my Sr Director mentioned before.. I was not going to apply for it, but did in the last minute.. Last week I;m interviewed for the position.. I am told my my director (noted thought out this message) that had I not applied for this position, "he did not know what I was going to do" I asked what he meant, he said this position is replacing the job your doing now!... and the person that gets this postion will be doing what I have been hired to do...

I don't know If I have explained this situation clearly enough in this message to help you grasp the problems here.. I'm 55 yr old professional female, that came from the commercial world, these are all senior ex military managers with a hugh boys club here at this base and I don't seem to fit in their mold of planing games with people's careers, and the programs intergity.. Its obvious to me they are trying to get rid of me anyway they can because I won't play their games.. I was never told about my job being in danger, nor told to apply for the new position, either way, I could still be out of work, stuck 3000 miles away from my family in the next month...

I need advise, and a list of things to to now before I am outside looking in... I have made copies of relevant emails and have them at home. Since the offending menagers are my direct upline, they control much of my future with this company.

thanks for the help.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

I'm contacting you just to let you know that my answer may take more than a few minutes to compose -- so, if you don't want to wait, then the system can send you an email once I post my answer.

Also, what I'm going to explain to you will probably not meet with your personal sense of justice -- so I'm telling you in advance, that in order to fight back from where you're currently at will require a bit of gamesmanship (pardon the gender specific term, but there is no other/better), which you may not be willing to play.

If you're not prepared to sign up for that sort of activity, then please let me know now, because I don't want to waste either of our time. The reason why I'm telling you this in advance, is because most employees believe that they have rights that do not actually exist, and when they discover how weak their position may be, they take it out on me, don't pay for the answer, and give me a bad rating. I don't want to be subejct to a bad rating for my service, so I'm offering you an opportunity to stop now and obtain a refund.

Please let me know if you want me to answer the question, and I shall give you the "blow by blow."

Thanks in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

NOTICE: My goal here is to entertain while educating the public about the law. I hope my answer is useful and informative to you. During our conversation, the website may ask you to rate my answer. If you rate my answer lower than the middle rating, then the website retains your entire payment, and I receive nothing. It is entirely your choice as to how you rate my answer. However, because your payment to me is in the nature of a donation/gift, rather than as compensation for any services rendered, you are entitled to know how your rating affects the final distribution of your donation.

If you need to contact me again, please put my user id at the beginning of your question ("To Socrateaser"), and the system will send me an alert. Please Click the following link for IMPORTANT LEGAL INFORMATION. Thanks and best wishes!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have nothing to lose at this point, Im starting out in my search for my options, if any and how best to play my hand..


I will let you know that I have trying playing his game in June.. Since he has his guy here he wants in my position, It was by accident that I had applied for a position in June in Jacksonville Fl.. It turns out that is where my boss came from... (the one that runs around me) so I got the interview and figured he would do as he said he would and help me get the position... for unknown reasons, I did not get the position..


 


I think he has left a bad trail behind him in JAX, and it actually hurt me, OR he sabotaged my opportunity... SO I have tryed to play their game..


 


lets go... tel me what you think I should do... thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

To Socrateaser:


 


Lets go sir, I need your help.. blow by blow as you suggested.. thanks..

Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Okay,

Cal. Labor Code 2922 provides that "An employment, having no specified term, may be terminated at the will of either party on notice to the other. Employment for a specified term means an employment for a period greater than one month." This law encompasses 99.9% of all employment relationships, and except in circumstances where an employee is blowing the whistle to law enforcement on some illegal employer activity, an employer can basicially tell you that your fired without any warning or reason at all. I refer to this as the "brushing your teeth with the wrong hand firing." The employer can fire you for brushing your teeth with your right hand, and if you switch hands, then the employer can fire you for not brushing your teeth with your right hand. Absurd, but that's how the law is written.

The fact that you were induced to travel cross country in reliance upon the employer's promise of employment, actually creates an enforceable contract. But, because the employer can end that contract "at will," under Labor Code 2922, you can't get damages for the termination, because you agreed to a deal in which your employment could be terminated at any time and without prior notice or compensation.

That's the bad news. You are left with but one option: sex discrimination (legally, you can claim age discrimination as well, but that's usually the most dificult form of discrimination to prove, so generally speaking avoiding it is usually the best practice).

You claim that you are a woman employed in an "old boys network." You need to be able to prove that, either statistically, by showing that you are practically along as a woman in your job and every man is constantly either telling sex-related jokes, or talking in a derogatory manner about women, such as a supervisor's wife, etc., and that no matter where you go or what you do, you are constantly confronted with some man treating you like a second-class citizen.

You need some other employee who will corroborate your claims. Obviously, another woman would be good, but if you can find a male coworker to offer to testify in your behalf, then that would be a lot better. This won't be easy to find -- but, you must find someone, if you want to crush your opponent. Also, if you can get a supervisor to admit to a certain bias in the organization against women, e.g., in a email, that, too, would be good. My experience is that supervisors love to show their ass, and sometimes you can get someone to say what they really think by offering them the opportunity to do so. I can't say where or when these opportunities will arise, but you only need a few, because once you have them, that gives a good employment rights lawyer, or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, what it needs to start trying to build a statistcal case of sex discrimination.

Sex discrimination can be found in direct harassment (the best possible case), retaliation against a claim of sex discrimination, in disparate hiring and promotion of men vis-a-vis women, and in unequal wages/salary and benefits for equally qualified workers.

Large employers take great pains to deter these types of bias, but they creep in over time, because where people actually think a certain way, that thinking ultimately pervades the organization. All business take on the predispositions of their executive management, because the egos of the management require that their belief system be validated as correct.

Anyway, that's the broad brush. I can't tell you exactly where to find your witness or your email or other evidence, but you need to find these things or you are sunk -- and frankly, based upon your descriptino of circumstances, my impression is that you are already on a track to be "managed out" of the organization. That's how it's done: a slow and inexorable pressure to do the impossible or impractical until either the employee breaks and quits, or the employer can show a pattern of sub-optimal performance.

And, when I say sub-optimal, I don't mean that you're underperforming your peers, because when confronted, the employer will never explain exactly how you are underperforming. HR and your supervisor will simply state that you aren't cutting it, and you need to improve. Then they will hand you a performance plan that no one can possibly fullfil, and demand that you sign it to acknowledge receipt. And, slowly but surely you will be managed out of the biz.

The only way to avoidd this is to find the employer's "achillies heel," and exploit it to your advantage. This is a lot of work, because you have to do your job while always being on the lookout for discrimination and a witness and/or documents that show discrimination.

But, if you want to fight back, then that's what you have to do. Otherwise, you may as well dust off your resume right now, contact a professional staffing firm and have them try to find you new employment before you lose your current employment -- because, more than likely your employment with the current organization is probably short lived.

Hope this helps.

NOTICE: My goal here is to entertain while educating the public about the law. I hope my answer is useful and informative to you. During our conversation, the website may ask you to rate my answer. If you rate my answer lower than the middle rating, then the website retains your entire payment, and I receive nothing. It is entirely your choice as to how you rate my answer. However, because your payment to me is in the nature of a donation/gift, rather than as compensation for any services rendered, you are entitled to know how your rating affects the final distribution of your donation.

If you need to contact me again, please put my user id at the beginning of your question ("To Socrateaser"), and the system will send me an alert. Please Click the following link for IMPORTANT LEGAL INFORMATION. Thanks and best wishes!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

("To Socrateaser")


First, thank you for the thoughtful insight to sexual harassment. Maybe I was unclear about my position and the situation, as I would have no grounds for sexual complaints..


I am the second level of management, my boss is the 4th level and the Sr director is the 5th level.. I am well aware of what sexual and other harassments are with many years in mgmt., we get a lot of training on the matter.. I am the only female here at this level of management .


I gather from the first part of your reply, that I might fall in the side of the "Tooth brush" example.. It’s a fairness and integrity thing, it’s not sexual in anyway... It seems that I was brought in to do a job by people not at the base, “seemingly” against the wishes of the local management, as I really never got the feeling of being welcomed here.


 


Looking for your opinion on this angle.


Since this is a big company with an Image to keep, and some pressures on them by the government. I am wondering if were to produce a presentation / package and go to our HR and ethics people with:


 


1) Collect all the email evidence showing lack of respect for my opinion management style and positions responsibilities I was hired to do from the moment I got here.


2) The circumvention of my authority with my direct reports, stripping and demeaning my position.


3) Pure lack of respect for my use of best industry practices..


 


Then ask them where the fairness is in all this? Why was I brought out here to do a job these people do not want me doing? Why I wasn’t not told about my job being replaced by another? Why wasn’t I told to apply for this new job? Only finding out I was being replaced by accident, because I did apply for it on my own.


 


In other words put some kind of pressure on HR to make them believe that I have my act together, I have listed real business concerns and that I am worried that I AM being somehow discriminated against.. All I want now is to get moved to another position somewhere else in the company..


 


I hope the pressure would just lead them to the path of least resistance… “Lets just move her”


 


What do you think, and how would you advise me in taking this approach this week.. thanks

Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
First, thank you for the thoughtful insight to sexual harassment. Maybe I was unclear about my position and the situation, as I would have no grounds for sexual complaints.

A: My point is that unless you're prepared to find some sort of sex discrimination angle, you are probably destined for termination. I'm not suggesting that you invent a discrimination action. I'm suggesting that in an organization where an "old boys network" exists, that sex discrimination also exists, even if you don't believe it to be true. You must either adopt that mental state and find evidence to support the contention, or you are sunk, in my opinion.

I am the second level of management, my boss is the 4th level and the Sr director is the 5th level.. I am well aware of what sexual and other harassments are with many years in mgmt., we get a lot of training on the matter.. I am the only female here at this level of management.

 

A: That by itself, suggests a probability of sex discrimination. A single woman manager in a large corporation could demonstrate an ingrained pattern of sex discrimination. Not harassment, but facial discrimination, i.e., women are not provided with anything close to equal opportunity in your organization, and the proof is that there are no women managers.


I gather from the first part of your reply, that I might fall in the side of the "Tooth brush" example.. It’s a fairness and integrity thing, it’s not sexual in anyway... It seems that I was brought in to do a job by people not at the base, “seemingly” against the wishes of the local management, as I really never got the feeling of being welcomed here.

 

A: You're arguing yourself out of a job. This is why I gave you my first message, i.e., I was fairly certain you would respond exactly as you are currently doing. You have to change your mental state. There is sex discrimination in your organization, and you are going to prove it or lose your job trying. Because, if you don't, you will lose your job, anyway, so you have nothing to lose.

Looking for your opinion on this angle.

Since this is a big company with an Image to keep, and some pressures on them by the government. I am wondering if were to produce a presentation / package and go to our HR and ethics people with:


1) Collect all the email evidence showing lack of respect for my opinion management style and positions responsibilities I was hired to do from the moment I got here.

2) The circumvention of my authority with my direct reports, stripping and demeaning my position.

3) Pure lack of respect for my use of best industry practices.

 

Then ask them where the fairness is in all this? Why was I brought out here to do a job these people do not want me doing? Why I wasn’t not told about my job being replaced by another? Why wasn’t I told to apply for this new job? Only finding out I was being replaced by accident, because I did apply for it on my own.

A: All of the above sounds great -- but it has absolutely no legal weight whatsoever, so even if you were to prove everything you have just outlined, it would be utterly worthless in court, and you would end up without a job.

In other words put some kind of pressure on HR to make them believe that I have my act together, I have listed real business concerns and that I am worried that I AM being somehow discriminated against.. All I want now is to get moved to another position somewhere else in the company.

 

A: Not going to work, in my opinion, for the reasons explained above.

I hope the pressure would just lead them to the path of least resistance… “Lets just move her”

A: I have worked for one of the largest businesses on earth. I have never seen the sort of action that you are suggesting have any affect on an HR decision. You either have a claim that produces a clear risk of legal liability for the employer or you don't. If you do, you can leverage it to get what you want -- otherwise, you will get escorted to the exit by security (ed. op.).

What do you think, and how would you advise me in taking this approach this week.. thanks

 

A: I think that you want to do what you believe is ethical and just, and unfortunately, if you do, you will shoot yourself in the foot. You have one shot at getting what you want -- you must prove sex discrimination, or create a credible threat of proving it, so that HR tells your supervisors that they need to transfer you or back off, because the risk of legal llability outweighs tbe benefit of an employment termination via an "action plan" to manage out the undesirable employee.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

socrateaser, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 33505
Experience: Retired (mostly)
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