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She was nice to the patients but when it came to training me she had no patience and was verbally abusive as I wrote - I don't think it was that she didn't "like" me - she is the Dr.'s wife and has been there for 20 yrs. so she naturally knows everything and for the few hrs. I was there she expected me know everything she did and she constantly harassed me - and I did not have a contract - this was a part-time job in a local dentist's office 13 to 16 hrs. a week. Today she crossed the line when after belittling me all morning she lost her patience and hit me in the arm. Are there any avenues I can pursue to sue her for damages against me, my reputation and loss of this job as I could not return to work after she hit me?
New York like most states is an employment at will state - meaning that actionable harassment must be based on some legally protected trait or action. These exceptions are the civil rights protections (e.g., age, race, sex, religion), violations of public policy (e.g., harassed for attending jury duty, for refusing to break the law, for reporting illegal activity by the employer (aka a "whistleblower violation"), or having some contractual right to a just cause employment (meaning the employer cannot mistreat you without industrial due process - which basically insures a fair and accurate treatment). Without any of these exceptions, courts find that the employer has a legitimate business right to operate its business however it sees fit and the court will not second-guess the employer. These policies and decisions may in fact be awful and clearly not fair or even make good business sense. However, they are not ultimately unlawful.
You haven't cited that your treatment was because of a protected reason or action on your part; only that this woman had no patience and/or was generally cruel. You may have a civil or criminal action against her personally for assaulting you and the mental/emotional damages that came out of that assault. However, nothing you've stated indicates you have a claim against the employer (the medical practice) itself. You should apply for unemployment in this matter as you did in fact quit the position for good cause attributable to the employer; you would qualify for unemployment in this in stance.
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She did strike me in the arm with NO provocation by me whatsoever - I was only working there a few days - and we never had words or any conflict other than that she was verbally abusive and demeaning in front of patients and co-workers which led up to today when she swatted my arm with her hand when she lost her patience with me as I guess I was not working fast enough for her. Aside from unemployment which I will NOT be eligible for as I only worked a handful of days - I am out of a job - so how should I proceed if I want to go after her?
Hello: A different Professional here.
I would like to add the following to my colleague's detailed response to your concerns. Even if you were not mistreated on prohibited grounds of race, age, gender, national origin, or the like, you may have a claim for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress if your manager’s mistreatment has caused you to seek medical treatment including therapy for your stress. In order to prevail on your claim of Intentional Infliction of Emotion Distress you need to show that (1) your manager acted intentionally or recklessly; (2) the manager's action was extreme and outrageous; and (3) the manager's action is the cause (4) of your severe emotional distress.
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress is a tort, in the same class as personal injury. So, you may consider retaining the services of a local personal injury Attorney to assist you with your case. You can use the following site to find local personal injury Attorney who can assist you with your case:
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