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Joseph
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 4871
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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I sent an email to Mike, my supervisor, informing him that

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I sent an email to Mike, my supervisor, informing him that Norman bragged about getting Gene fired because he wanted Gene's job. Norman said he will get Gene's replacement fired as well, since it wasn't him. Mike is leaving the company and doesn't want to discipline Norman or let the new supervisor know about my email. Instead, Mike left a print out of my email where Norman could find it -- even though I said I feared retaliation from Norman. I feel that Gene's replacement has been threatened by Norman. I had a conference call with Mike and his boss, and Mike told his boss he has no corroboration for my complaint against Norman. Now, Norman knows I complained and he is planning to get Gene's replacement, who starts next week, and me fired. I am new, hired in September, and Norman has been with the company one year. The new supervisor starts next week as well. What is your advice for handling the situation?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Hello again,

I would really like to try to help you. However, if you genuinely believe that I lack sufficent expertise in this area of law, and/or you find my lack of "bedside manner" too abrasive, then just say so, and I will opt out and let someone else assist.

Thanks in advance, and either way, I wish you a happy holiday season.

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 assumed I would get a different "expert" when I rephrased and resubmitted my question since I said I was not satisfied with your answer. You didn't address my actual question. I know I don't have the authority to fire the employee. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, I rephrased my question hoping a different employment law attorney would address my question. I am looking for perspective and advice handling a serious (to me) situation and you reply that my job title is a fraud and I should look for a new job. You are retired, so perhaps you are unaware how difficult it is to find a job nowadays? I have a new boss coming next week, a new employee (who, unbeknownst to them, is already a target), and a bully in our midst. As you can tell, sir, I don't back down from a fight, but I'm looking for the best advice to put up a good one -- so could you please hand me off to someone who doesn't cut and run when it gets tough? I'd appreciate it. No offense, but your canned response was not something I would pay for.
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.

I will opt out. Best of luck to you.

And, if you change your mind, I'll be happy to try to help.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you pass my question on to another employment law attorney? Or do I need to start over?
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
I did pass the question to another contributor/expert. However, he logged off, instead of taking the question. It's Saturday night, and the only person online who is qualified to answer California Employment Law questions is me.

If you leave the Q&A open, eventually someone qualified will log in and respond.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

What question do you have regarding your situation?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am looking for advice on " next steps" -- if I believe my boss purposely made me a target of retaliation by allowing my coworker to read my confidential email -- should I make a formal complaint to the EEOC? Do I just write my boss or his supervisor a letter? Do I go up the company chain of command? Or do I report the intimidation to the labor board?

We do not have an HR person on staff right now. I am the "interim" HR person, but I'm new to the company.
Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
Unfortunately, the treatment that you're experiencing at work, while unethical and immoral is not illegal.

First off, your work email is not confidential since it is your 'work' email, and there is no violation of your rights for your boss to allow other employees to read your email.

Second, unless you you were retaliated against for making a complaint regarding discrimination, you would not have the basis to make a formal complaint to the EEOC or DFEH.

Unfortunately, there is no code of civility in the workplace, and contrary to popular belief, employers are free to treat their employees in whatever way they see fit, including a disrespectful and inhumane manner.

However, you are free to write your boss or supervisor a letter, stating your problems with this conduct or go further up the chain of command. Still, as an at-will employee, your employer is not under any legal obligation to receive your complaints with any merits, and it could possibly result in your termination from the company, since as an at-will employee, you can be terminated at any time for any reason.

Finally, since your complaint doesn't involve a labor code violation it is not something you can report to the labor board.

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX had better news to give you, but I hope you appreciate a direct and honest answer to your question.
Joseph, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 4871
Experience: Extensive experience representing employees and management
Joseph and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay, I appreciate your honest answer -- but allow me just one follow up for my own clarification: If the employee I wrote to my supervisor about was to attack me physically at work or away from work -- would my boss THEN bear any responsibility for the retaliation IF the only provocation for the attack was the email I sent my boss? Would my boss then have civil or criminal responsibility for my welfare?
Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
No, unfortunately, that wouldn't change the fact that your boss wouldn't be liable for the attack by the employee. The source of the provocation for the attack doesn't change the fact that only the attacker would be liable. However, your fellow employee would definitely be criminally and civilly responsible for any injuries caused to you by any attack at work or away from work.

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