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Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19777
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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I felt forced to leave a job due to hostile work environment

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I felt forced to leave a job due to hostile work environment created by my employer. During an investigation of theft in the store I managed for Old Navy, my District Manager asked the Loss Prevention Manager to question my associates about how we got customers to open Old Navy Credit Cards. At some point it came out that my Operations Manager and Customer Service Manager were involved in giving unauthorized discounts to customers for opening credit cards. They partnered together to create great results and then blamed it on me. They said I allowed it. This was not true. With that, the LP manager began an investigation and included my managers in it. Though all investigations are confidential, John Durst, the LP Manager, involved my managers to the extent that I can provide date/time of in-store video showing this. Every time I tried to do my job, I was told it was retaliation. Every time I made a move on camera, these two girls that worked for me called the managers. Finally I called Human Resources and it was stopped. However, since they could not pursue anything through Loss Prevention they came to me to question every single sentence written in both manager's statements. Of course, none of it was true and most was take out of context. The District Manager and HR Manager at the time interviewed me for FOUR hours. They DID NOT allow me a note-taker or witness, nor did they allow me to tape the converation. There is so much more to this but I was just wondering if I have a case against them.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 4 years ago.
Hello,

Unfortunately nothing in the facts that you shared is per se unlawful. In fact since NY is an employment "at will" state the employer could have terminated you for any, or no, reason and with no notice or warning as long as the termination hadn't violated a company policy. employment contract, or employment discrimination law. That also means that they get to set the terms and conditions of employment, including how they conduct any disciplinary or other type of investigations. Absent a contract, there is no right for an employee to have a witness, note taker or to record a conversation of any type in the workplace.

That said, if there are other facts that I am not aware of, for example, you believe you were targeted because you are a member of a protected class under employment discrimination laws, then that might change the situation. Certainly if one of the exceptions that I mentioned above to the employer's general carte blanche in these situations applies, then you should sit down with a local employment law attorney to discuss all the details to see if they are interested in pursuing any claim on your behalf. However, if your situation doesn't fall within the exceptions, then no matter how unfair or misguided the actions of the employer were, they wouldn't be unlawful.


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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19777
Experience: Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
Marsha411JD and 3 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
I want to know why, then, so many companies have to provide all this documentation to protect them from wrongful termination suits. I want to know why I am not entitled to a harrassment free workplace.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
The US Supreme Court has stated that the laws on harassment/hostile work environment were enacted to protect employees from conduct based only on their age/race/sex/disability and they were not intended to create a code of civility in the workplace (See: Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore). Thus, your previous expert was correct, in order for you to have an actionable case for hostile work environment/harassment, you have to prove that the only reason you were subjected to the behavior was your age/race/sex/disability and no other reason.