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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20233
Experience:  Assisting employees and employers for over 14 years.
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I am a special education teacher in Pennsylvania at a private

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I am a special education teacher in Pennsylvania at a private school. On a Friday about a week ago I went to my supervisor's office twice in the morning to inform her of two situations. The first was to let her know I had a family member being removed from life support and needed to travel to Tennessee to say final good byes. The second was to inform her that a particular student in my classroom was having a bad day and causing concerns. Both situations were causing me to have stress and she was aware of this. On neither visit to her office did she mention to me that she needed to speak to me about another issue.

Then suddenly that afternoon at 1:30 I received an email to come to her office at 3:00 to review a document. At 3:00 I went to her office, which is the very end of the day. She asked me how my day was going and I replied "it has been one of those days". She replied "I am about to make it worse and I am sorry for this". She then presented me with a disciplinary action document based on an email I sent about a student five weeks prior to this. During the five weeks since I sent this email was there any mention of a problem or concern. An action as part of the disciplinary action document was for me to meet with the director of human resources and the education director of the school. 10 days since the disciplinary action document this meeting has not occurred because my supervisor and education director were out of town at a conference.

Would there be any case of my supervisor placing extra stress on me based upon the disciplinary action being presented to me on already stressful days she was aware of and then adding stress while waiting a long period time for the foolow up meeting?
Welcome and thank you for your question!

I am very sorry to learn of the facts you've described and the personal stresses you have faced. It would be very helpful to first know: do you belong to a labor union?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No we do not have a labor union at our school.

Thank you. And, it would also be helpful to know, do you have a written employment contract that your employer is violating?

Let me be very clear. I am not asking about any employee handbook.

Rather, do you have a separate written contract signed by you and the employer and, if so, is your employer violating any terms of that contract?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No written contract with terms. I am a 10 month employee. Each June I receive an appointment letter for the following school year that states my position and salary. Otherwise no contract.

Thank you. Now, is the employer not following any employment manual with the actions you've described?

~~ J.B.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We have an employee handbook. In the handbook I cannot find any information on how discipline should be presented and in what manner

Thank you. From the facts you've described, the employer is not violating any contract and is not violating any internal policy/procedure manual. Because of those two critical factors, there is no basis for a lawsuit.

Let me ask you this, looking at it from a different way, are you currently receiving any medical treatment because of work-caused stress?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Though I am very stressed I have not seeked medical attention for it.

Thank you. And since you are still physically able to work then that means you are not eligible for any type of workers compensation claim.

You know, I hate to suggest it, but looking at it from every possible angle, there's not a legal hook to go after the employer on.

They may be poor managers and not know how to effectively manage employees but, from what you've described, they are not breaking any laws.

I entirely understand why you want closure on the issue. So, you may want to call, e-mail, or pay them a personal visit to ask when the meeting will be scheduled. It's perfectly fine for you to take the initiative on pressing for the meeting. It shows them that you care and want this addressed so that everyone can positively move forward. You may want to direct your energies to focus on getting that meeting scheduled, learning what their concerns are, and doing what you need to do to address them.

You cannot make them better managers but you can take the initiative to show them that you want to manage your affairs promptly and effectively.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back. I am happy to address follow-up questions. Thank you for your business!

~~ J.B.

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