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Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 17269
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 28 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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My husband is a supervisor of a company for over 20 years.

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My husband is a supervisor of a company for over 20 years. He has 6 men who work in his lab for him. He has had women work in the lab in the past, with no problems, but it is a very physical job so not many women even apply to work in his lab. He has had a woman employee for the past 2 years. She was very difficult and he went above and beyond trying to help her. He gave her easy tasks and had the other guys in the lab to help her with her tasks countless times. My husband worked in HR for 10 years, so he has always understood to watch his p's and q's with regard to treating her 'differently'. Hence, the reason he would go out of his way to keep her 'happy'. He did go to his boss several times in the 2 years because she was simply not a good employee. Response was always, ‘try to make it work’. Her end of the year reviews were 'not meeting expectations'... approved by his boss. Again, had nothing to do with her being a woman, but just not getting the job done. The guys in the lab did not have any warm fuzzies for her, for sure but tolerated her. Apparently, it was no secret that she was on several psychological medications and she did on at least one occasion, bring in video of her drunk boyfriend and showed everyone in the lab the video. I share that bc it shows perhaps her own 'character'. 3 weeks ago my husband was able to place her in a new lab. He told her that they needed help there (no lie) and she would enjoy the work, he felt. Since Friday, rumors have been swirling that she has been meeting with HR for the past 2 days and now TODAY, my husband has been told that HR and his boss need to meet with him. Everyone is worried because they feel she is (falsely) accusing of harassment. It should be noted that my husband vehemently denies any harassment. He went out of his way to make the environment work for her. The handbook states that if you have a problem of any sort, you should go to your boss and if that doesn't get you answers, go to his/her boss. She never came to him in 2 years of any complaints of harassment nor did she come to my husband's boss with complaints. Furthermore, she never even inquired about getting a transfer out. My husband has been a loyal employee for over 20 years. This is devastating and COMPLETELY UNFAIR. My Question: What does he do in his meeting today? Does he request 'evidence'? How does he let them know that he will be calling a lawyer, if the false accusations result in his termination without sounding threatening? WHAT are his rights!??! If she ask him to sign anything, he should not, correct?? We may not have money for a lawyer, but I think it is important for him to 'allude' to the fact that if the false accusations continue then he will have no alternative, but to sue for defamation of character. Just trying to figure out the right things to say today in his first meeting. Please help.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

Thank you for the information. What makes you think that the meeting today will be anything more than just the required investigation when an employee makes an allegation of gender discrimination or harassment? Does he even know what the specific allegation is and whether it involves him at all? I assume he is not in a union, is that correct?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, he is not Union. Rumors have it that that is the reason for her sitting in HR for the past 2 days. I believe sources close to her have stated that. Certainly, it could be just an 'investigation', but it would involve him because he is the supervisor and it is his responsibility because it is his lab. he just needs to be prepared for anything outrageous she may be accusing. What are his rights?
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello again and thank you for the additional information. Well, hopefully, this is a fact finding mission and will result in the employer concluding that there has been no unlawful harassment or discrimination. However, the unfortunate truth is that your husband has no special rights in terms of what his employer can do in this case unless he has those rights through an employment contract or a company policy. In other words, "due process" only applies to criminal court cases and some cases under administrative law, as well as grievance procedures in some bargaining agreements. There is no such right for an employee of a private employer in the State of Missouri, or in any other State. Therefore, he cannot demand that he be shown any evidence. If the employer though, as I mentioned, gives him that right, then they must comply with their own policies.

As for implying that he is going to hire an attorney, that could ultimately backfire if he is an employee "at will," which most employees in Missouri are. That means that his employer may terminate him for any, or no, reason and with no notice or warning unless the termination would violate an employment contract, company policy or employment discrimination law. So, unless he falls within one of the exceptions, hiring an attorney, at least in so far as his employer is concerned, would generally be fruitless because of the "at will" rule of employment.

That said, if he finds out that this employee has made false statements of fact about him, then he may have a defamation of character action he can file against her if his reputation is damaged by the statements. In that case, he would want to sit down afterward with a personal injury attorney who handles non-physical injury cases, to discuss the facts and whether it would be worth his time to file suit.

Please let me know if you need any clarification or have follow up questions for me. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 17269
Experience: Licensed Attorney with 28 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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