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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12237
Experience:  Licensed attorney
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What must I have to prove that my hostile work environment

Resolved Question:

What must I have to prove that my hostile work environment is motivated by the boss' desire for me to leave so that she can promote her best friend (my subordinate) who is considerably younger than me? I am in my 50's, her friend is in her early 30's. The boss is 41. She does not want to pay me to leave but continues to be hostile only to me so that I will leave on my own. I have been a good employee for nearly 18 months but in the past few months, the boss has began to yell, cuss, and tell me I'm not doing the job she hired me for; yet there are no specifics, no examples, no documentation to say what it is that i'm not doing.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 2 years ago.

Brandon M. :

Hello there.

Customer:

hello

Brandon M. :

Hello.

Brandon M. :

Thank you for your question.

Brandon M. :

Since I am not present to evaluate your situation in person, if I may rephrase, the question is how does one prove a hostile work environment.

Customer:

yes, when it is based on age descrimination

Brandon M. :

I am glad that you mentioned that, because it actually addressed the question I was about to ask you.

Brandon M. :

You mentioned that you believe your boss wants to give the job to her friend. Do you believe that you have been singled out for replacement based on your age?

Customer:

yes, it is obvious that the boss isn't comfortable with my knowledge and years of experience. My predecesser was close in age to me and was also terminated after 18 months.

Brandon M. :

Interesting.

Brandon M. :

I have to ask, is it likely that your boss is just mentally ill?

Customer:

but she was paid 3 months salary when fired and allowed to resign, but still got unemployment

Customer:

I don't know if she is mentally ill. It's as if she knows she can do whatever she wants and no one will stop her.

Customer:

very talkative and friendly to everyone else that she interacts with, just horrible to me.

Brandon M. :

This all sounds horrible.

Customer:

it is escalating. she knew I had medical tests due to stress and had to see a cardiologist. now that tests are over, she's back on me

Customer:

and she will go for days at a time with no communication at all with me; she won't even make eye contact if we're in the same room in a meeting

Brandon M. :

I should clarify that, because the nuances of every case are different, you should not rely on this information as advice or apply it to a specific situation without a more thorough consultation with counsel. But that said, things are proven in a legal context just like things are proven in life. How would you prove that you went to the grocery store today? You might show a receipt of purchase. You may have a credit card record. Perhaps you ran into someone at the store that recognized you and would remember your being there. Maybe you were issued a traffic citation outside the store's parking lot. You would also have groceries from the store in your home. You know what the truth is, you would just need to show someone else how they can know it too.

Brandon M. :

So let's assume that the victim is interpreting things properly. That information is communicated and corroborated to the extent possible.

Brandon M. :

Witnesses, documentation, medical records--all of it would and should be presented in its totality.

Customer:

she's very careful not to behave this way in front of others

Brandon M. :

The standard of proof is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It is proof by a preponderance of the evidence.

Brandon M. :

It only needs to be proven that it is more likely than not.

Brandon M. :

If the evidence doesn't exist, then you create the evidence. You have to get creative. If the victim knows that the boss acts out at a certain time or under certain circumstances, they can get a friend to eavesdrop out of slight.

Brandon M. :

*sight.

Customer:

her executive asst. heard her one day through the closed door, but people are afraid to speak up because they would lose their job OR she would turn on them next

Brandon M. :

I am not sure what would work for your specific situation, but if you don't have direct evidence and if you don't have circumstantial evidence, you do what law enforcement does, which is you figure out a way to create and collect the evidence and build your case from there.

Brandon M. :

So people know that this is going on?

Customer:

i'm keeping a calendar of events. Yes, some employees have been there a long time and they have been bullied also, but not repeatedly, and not for the reasons that I am

Brandon M. :

So if people know that it is happening, that addresses a lot of the problem. Although no one may be jumping to volunteer their information, they can be subpoenaed if a case is started and required to answer questions under oath. Their choice would be risking their job by telling the truth, or risking criminal prosecution for not.

Customer:

well that's encouraging. but finding an attorney to take a case without strong evidence up front is costly.....money that I won't have once I'm terminated or leave in fear of further health issues.

Brandon M. :

Well, employment discrimination cases are generally initiated by filing a complaint with the EEOC, which has jurisdiction to investigate complaints of age discrimination. Obviously, it is always ideal to have an attorney, but the EEOC is a government agency and they are accustomed to investigating the complaints of self-represented parties.

Customer:

is it permissable to file a complaint once I leave the company?

Brandon M. :

And to be clear, complaints can also be made to the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights--they handle the same types of cases as the EEOC, but they are a state agency. Again, because the nuances of every case are different, you should not rely on this information as advice or apply it to a specific situation without a more thorough consultation with counsel, but one may file an employment discrimination case with the EEOC regardless of whether they are currently employed--but the complaint must be filed within six months of the alleged discriminatory act.

Brandon M. :

Does that make sense?

Customer:

ok, thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good information to know. Yes, it makes a lot of sense.

Customer:

If I save & exit, will it save this conversation somewhere so that i can re-read it later?

Brandon M. :

Yes, you can return to this page, or you can highlight the text and right-click to "copy" the text and paste it onto another document, or you can email info@justanswer.com to request a copy emailed to you.

Brandon M. :

Did you have any other questions this evening?

Customer:

no thank you, XXXXX XXXXX very helpful.

Brandon M. :

Terrific. Let me know if further clarification is needed, and please keep in mind that the experts are not credited for unaccepted answers; even where every problem cannot be solved, my hope is that you can at least feel confident in your knowledge. Please remember to click accept once you are finished. Thank you.

Customer:

i accepted, I hope! can you verify?

Brandon M. :

Actually, I do not have an accept registered, but if you give me permission, I can let the website know that you intended to click accept and they can do it for you. Would that be acceptable?

Customer:

If I click it again, it won't charge me twice will it?

Brandon M. :

It will not. You can only be charged once.

Customer:

ok, I'll do it again.

Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12237
Experience: Licensed attorney
Brandon M. and 2 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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