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LawTalk
LawTalk, Lawyer
Category: Job
Satisfied Customers: 27887
Experience:  I have practiced law for more than a quarter of a century.
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I am the only African American in my office and 1 of 2 in Headquarters.

Customer Question

I am the only African American in my office and 1 of 2 in Headquarters. My office is Finance. I have gone through being told that my mom was on welfare to I only got the job because of quotas. For the last 7 sevens, I have worked in the capacity of a Supervisor. I am the only Supervisor who had to work 6 months before being paid as a Supervisor. When I brought this to my Supervisor's attention - I said it was like a slap in the face and she responded that "it must string". During my first years as Supervisor, their were many issues i.e, files missing, misplaced, filed incorrectly, filed in a disarray. Staff was told they were to follow up with my supervisor if they did not like what I asked them to do. One of my staff member was very vocal about how the Captains and above missed used their authority. I came in one day and could hear her raging about a Captain. When I spoke to my supervisor, no one heard anything. Another one of my staff members was scared. I then got in to it with this same staff member in which she yelled into my face and backed me up to the files. Again no one heard her. I emailed my supervisor the entire incident and was told that I could not write the staff member up and I should be careful what I email. To write things on a piece of paper would be better. My mom got into a car accident in Indiana, I told my supervisor. I left the office, found a flight at home and flew out that evening. While in Indiana, I received a call from my supervisor about a charge on the agency credit card for a plane ticket. I told her where to find the paperwork for the charge. Her comment was that we would be sitting down with the Finance Director to discuss the charge when I returned. I called the office and asked the ticket holder to call Finance about the charge and further provided her with where to find the paperwork. When I returned, I found out that another Supervisor had reviewed credit card transactions when I left and had brought the charge to the attention of my supervisor. When I returned to work, my supervisor had cancelled the meeting with the Finance Director. The next thing charged to the credit card was acai berry products, and than a credit report. The charges were reversed because someone in purchasing may inadvertently click the button. Then money came up missing. All of cash management and me were questioned. When I went upstairs I was asked about handling cash. My job does not handle cash, we only print checks. When I because A/P supervisor petty cash was switched to cash management. Reason, it would be better up cash. Findings for the missing cash showed that the Budget manager and her friend that she supervises had misplaced the money and had the system to show as if no money was ever received. Then I was away from the office and they had my staff members go through my office. Things were paid that should not have been and resulted in duplicate payments. I met with my supervisor and the budget manager about why did I not pay statements. I indicated that we do not pay statements nor do we pay from them. That meeting was a mess. Now I am going back through the same thing. I was leaving to go on vacation my supervisor who is the budget manager had my staff go through my office so that it would be organized. I was told they did not feel comfortable with me, that I act as if I was their mother. Mind you, we are all adults. My supervisor called a meeting with me, my staff, and her friend, the one she was in trouble with for not notifying money was missing. She wanted me to explain to my staff why I did not tell them what I was working on. It was crazy. I was told to shut up by my staff. I had nightmares for the first week of my vacation. When I returned they had gone through my entire office and set up new procedures which they wanted me to follow. Further, some of my duties were now transferred to my staff. Further credit cards payments (the ones I pay) had to be reviewed by my supervisor. The travel credit card which should not be reconciled by the person making transactions to the card. I indicated this but my supervisor said she could continue. I now have a staff that does not talk to me because they were told they did not have to. I was also written up for "unwanted touching". The student clerk and I had an issue during Christmas which she should have been written up. After I talked to the Finance Director, I took the responsibility and apologized for the situation. I have always hugged her in the past. She has been a student clerk with us through college and always came to me "crying" when things were hectic. As a mother, I always comforted her to let her know things would be okay. This was in December. In February I was written up. I am really tired of going through all of this. I have asked what my title was several times, if not a Supervisor to please tell me. I am ready to take legal action. Please help.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Job
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Good morning,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.

1. What state are you employed in?
2. Do you believe that any of the disparate treatment you are receiving is related to your race, color, gender, ethnic or national origin, age, religion or any disability you might have?

Doug
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


1. Florida


2. I believe to race considering all others are white and nothing like this has been done to them. I am the only one that if I say something someone either cries, or takes it as a hostile response.

Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Good afternoon,

Thank you for the additional information, and for your clarification of your understanding of what is going on. It certainly raises the red flag of racism if it is happening only to you, and you are the only African American in your office.

I've been a licensed attorney for nearly 3 decades, and for two of those decades, I have handled employment discrimination law and litigated cases against employers. Your description of the situation seems to indicate that there may be discrimination going on based on your race.

Federal law prohibits harassment and discrimination in the workplace and if it does occur, you do have a legal remedy. If you have taken your concerns all the way to HR, and they have not remedied the situation, then your next step is to seek help outside the company.

Under Federal law, workplace harassment/discrimination is any unwelcome or unwanted conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or an aversion toward another person on the basis of any characteristic protected by law, which includes an individual's race, color, gender, ethnic or national origin, age, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other personal characteristic protected by law. A conduct is considered unwelcome if the employee did not solicit, instigate or provoke it, and the employee regards XXXXX XXXXX as undesirable or offensive.

You have every right to file a race discrimination complaint with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). If your company has 15 or more employees, they are prohibited from discriminating against you. To file a complaint with the EEOC, contact the nearest Equal Employment Opportunity Commission field office. To be automatically connected with the nearest office, call(NNN) NNN-NNNN EEOC website: www.eeoc.gov

 

Federal law specifically prohibits discrimination, based upon the Ethnicity, Color, Religion, National Origin, Age, Sex or Disability of an individual, with regard to hiring, promotion and firing.

 

After you file the complaint, your employer will be prohibited from any retaliatory action against you. The EEOC will investigate your claim, and 180 days after the filing of the complaint you may ask for a "right to sue letter". The EEOC will issue you the letter which gives you the right to institute a private civil action against your employer and seek monetary damages.

 

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

I wish you the best in your future,

Doug

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Do I notify the company first?


 

Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Good afternoon,

There is no obligation for you to notify your company that you have filed a formal complaint, They will be notified by the EEOC that the complaint has been made and that will be the start of the federal investigation into the claim.

Now, you may tell the company that you have filed the claim---and that will begin the time in which it will be illegal to retaliate against you in any fashion or form, for having filed the complaint. And so, if your day to day life at work is rough because of the discrimination, this can result in HR bring it to a halt much more quickly.

The decision is up to you though, whether you tell the company or allow the EEOC to do so. I can say that there really is no downside to you telling HR that you have filed. Don't tell anyone but HR though---so HR can immediately take steps necessary to halt the ongoing harassment---which they will do in preparation for the EEOC investigation.

You may reply back to me using the Continue the Conversation or Reply to Expert link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

Please remember to rate my service to you when our communication is completed.

I wish you the best in 2013,

Doug
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

One more question - I work for the Sheriff of Collier County. Do I let him know. Although I have been to his office and spoke with his Secretary twice about the situation. Others have encouraged me not to go to him because that could open up another can of worms.


 


 

Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Good afternoon,

It would probably be a better decision to only go to HR if you are going to tell anyone in advance of the department being notified by the EEOC. Going to your boss is only likely to result in a knee jerk response which could be---well, less than simply a bit tense. If he/she are not notified until HR contacts them, then HR will be in a position to calm down the emotions and to spell out exactly what cannot happen in terms of how you are to be treated.

Doug
LawTalk, Lawyer
Category: Job
Satisfied Customers: 27887
Experience: I have practiced law for more than a quarter of a century.
LawTalk and other Job Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your positive rating of my service. It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope than you will ask for me on JustAnswer should a future need ever arise.

Please feel free to bookmark the following link so you can request me to answer any future legal questions you may have:
http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-lawtalk/

Thanks again.

Doug

When you receive your Customer Satisfaction Survey from JustAnswer, please do rate me highly (9-10) there as well. It benefits my ability to assist you and other customers, and would be tremendously appreciated.

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