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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 34066
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I have been employed for 5 years by HCA and have managed the

Customer Question

I have been employed for 5 years by HCA and have managed the Interventional Radiology department during that period of time. I work for an extreme manipulator,bully,liar and exploitive director. She enjoys to set people up for failure (along with a slue of other egregious acts), Knowing this, I have had to play the role of "confidant". Though I played this role, I went out of my way to protect the people underneath and around me.
She has been protected through the years by the C.O.O. who left a few months ago. The other managers and I launched a complaint with HR. At first they were very reassuring and made us all feel like our nightmare was over. HR interviewed 9 people who all had similar stories, though there are many more they could have interviewed. HR took their investigation to the three executive officers: CEO,CFO and the new COO. During this time, someone (we believe it was the old COO on my director's behalf) called Regional to tell them to back off. Being new, we believed the COO has been intimidated into not taking action. Now, it's just a matter of time. I know her style: she will simply wait for the conditions to exists for my termination and the others. Please, understand. The lawyer who takes this will have plenty of verification of her conduct. Our department has the highest turn over rate with a lot of unhappy people out there. What are our options?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

Does your employer have a written policy that prohibits the sort of conduct that your supervisor exhibits?

Do you have any reason to believe that the supervisor's conduct is connected with unlawful discrimination (ace, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, or sexual orientation)?

Thanks in advance.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for taking this. Before we go any further, can we edit this so the company's name is XXXXX XXXXX the public? I wanted this to be a private question. Others cannot be able to read this. Let me know the status before we continue.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have reason to believe alcohol (hang-over) has something to do with some of it. I noted the same sour smell on her breath each time.


 


Yes, there is an agreement that we all signed a couple of months ago that promises a safe work environment free from abuse etc.


 


The HR lawyer said something about her being older than 50 and a female and that this conduct has gone unchecked all these years. That's all because everyone knew she was protected.

Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
When you rate the answer, you can request that customer service lock the entire Q&A session so that no one can read it. Until then, however, there is no confidentiality.

Based on what you've described, you have two simultaneous options. You can claim sexual harassment, which is prohibited both by state and federal law (Cal. Fair Employment and Housing Act; Title 29 C.F.R. 1604.11).

You can also sue for breach of express contract, because you were required to sign in recognition of the employer's anti-harassment policy.

The fact that you have nearly a dozen potential plaintiffs makes your case extremely juicy, in my opinion, for an employment rights attorney. If you really want to get things moving in a hurry, you can all complain to California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). However, DFEH won't take a breach of contract claim -- so, you may be better served by hiring an employment rights attorney who can take both the discrimination and contract claims. For a competent referral, see this link.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
socrateaser, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 34066
Experience: Retired (mostly)
socrateaser and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.

(intentionally deleted -- please ignore)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

do you have any personal recommendations on who we should see? Are we suing?Exactly what would we be trying to do? We all just want her gone. BTW thank you so much for your help. God Bless

Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
do you have any personal recommendations on who we should see?

A: I'm not permitted to provide direct referrals. The only direction I can provide is to the State Bar Ceritified referral services (which I did in my original answer, but here is the link again for your convenience), or to a legal aid organization (which I don't believe applies to your circumstances, because you are looking for a contingency lawyer -- not a free lawyer, based upon indigency). If you want to try legal aid, then here's a link.

Are we suing?

A: Probably so, but it may be possible to avoid legal action via a negotiated settlement.

Exactly what would we be trying to do?

A: Let me try a hypothetical here. Suppose that you and several of your coworkers were so stressed by this supervisor that you each independently visited your physician and complained that you are severely depressed or filled with anxiety. Now, suppose that you each are diagnosed as suffering from clinical stress/anxiety or depression by your physician. Now, suppose you each independently return to your employer and you request "reasonable accommodations" for your disability.

The employer is now caught between a rock and a hard place. There is a supervisor who apparently has some discrimination cards of her own, and she has managed to play them well enough to remain in power, despite her being unsuited to the task. But, now there are several employees, each of whom is complaining about stress/anxiety/depression, based upon the supervisor's continued abuse/harassment/poor management skills.

A reasonable accommodation under the Cal. Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and/or the Americans with Disabiltiies Act (ADA) would be a transfer to a different supervisor -- or a transfer "of" the supervisor to a different job. And, under law, it's up to the employer to find the appropriate accommodation.

If the employer fails to reasonably accommodate the employees, then those employees have a lawsuit, and they can contact an employment rights lawyer, or complain to DFEH (explained in my previous answer).

If this were just one employee complaining, there could be a reasonable argument that the problem is the employee, rather than the supervisor. But, if there are several employees all complaining about the same thing -- there is no reasonable argument. The employer will have to take some sort of action or face a disability discrimination lawsuit by the coworkers.

In my opinion, what I've just described is probably the best way to "move the ball down filed towards the goal line." You wouldn't be writing about all of this, if you weren't really "shell shocked" (PTSD'd) by the manager. So, think about taking that next step. It may seem like a ridiculous amount of hoops to jump through, but based upon what you've described, it seems to me that it would be the fastest path to a solution.

The above, also gives you grounds to sue based on the express anti-abuse/harassment policy -- because you can show actual physical manifestation of an injury caused by the employer's failure to enforce its own policies.

So, think about this. You may actually find that some of your coworkers have already visited their physicians, and they are already receiving care for anxiety or depression. They just don't want to admit it, because it's embarassing, or it might be viewed poorly by the employer -- which is, of course, disability discrimination, and that is exactly what you're trying to prove.

Hope this helps.

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