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Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 17402
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 28 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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If I recently filed a grievance against an employer and two

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If I recently filed a grievance against an employer and two later I am being written up for performance issues and being place on a Performance evaluation plan, can this considered retaliatory and can I involuntarily resign and still collect unemployment compensation?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

Thank you for the information and your question. Can you tell me are you in a union? What was the general basis for your grievance? What did you email the CEO and not complain to HR? You say you were written up for performance issues "two later," two what, days or week or how long?

Also, I need to confirm that you understand that I am not allowed, either by this Site or my State Bar Association, to provide you with a legal opinion or legal advice since we cannot form an attorney-client relationship, and can only provide legal information as it relates to the general subject of your question. If you understand these limits please reply with the information that I requested. If not, you will need to consult with a local attorney who can provide you legal advice/opinion.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I am not in a union.


I emailed the CEO we are a small, non-profit and this is the established protocol for dispute resolutions.


 


I emailed the CEO with the grievance on June 21, 2013.


 


I received my write up today July 2, 2013 from supervisor and an outside HR agency hired to handle this matter.


 


Are you an attorney or expert on Employer law?


 


 

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response, however, I don't see where you responded to my question about what the general subject/substance of your complaint was. That really is the most important piece of this issue. So, I will need to know what the basis of your complaint was. Also, how many employees are there?

Yes, as you can see from my signature line I an an Employment Law attorney and have been for over 27 years.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Dear Andi,


I am emailing you to file a formal complaint against my manager, Robert Vickery. It has become increasingly difficult for me to remain productive in my present position as Technical Assistance Manager under the present circumstances. The reasons I am filing this formal complaint are as follows:



  • Abusive and harassing actions

  • Belittling/condescending behavior

  • Lack of communication and exclusion from meetings and information needed to complete my duties effectively

  • Unreasonable timeframe and unclear expectations for work performance


Robert’s consistent campaign of harassment has become abusive and intolerable and has been extremely discouraging to me. His constant belittling and condescending verbal assaults have been hurtful and demeaning over the past few months. These incidents are documented and summarized in a personal record that I have kept and I can make available to you when we meet. Robert has consistently excluded me from meetings and information related to my position I believe in an effort to sabotage my positive standing with you, the organization and our vendors. I believe that Robert is attempting to “push me out” of the organization in an effort to give my position to a candidate of his liking. Robert Vickery behavior makes it evident that he does not like me and does not want me working on his team for reasons unknown to me. Due to the hostile working environment that has been created by Rob’s actions my morale as an employee has greatly diminished and I am seeking your help in getting things back on track.


I have spoken directly with Robert on a number of occasions regarding his behaviors towards me in an effort to remedy the situation. Those efforts to date have been unsuccessful. It was my hope that sitting down with you and him on April 15, 2013 that his behavior would improve, but since then it has become progressively worse I believe in retaliation.


Per our “Problem Resolution policy” I am requesting participation in our formal dispute resolution process. Furthermore, I ask that you consider placing me back under the supervision of Michelle Arnold while the dispute resolution process is pending. I am asking this because Robert has a history of retaliatory behavior and Michelle Arnold and I have a history of working conflict-free together. I look forward to meeting with you some time in the next 10 days to begin this process. I am confident that you will handle this positively and I look forward to working with you on a quick resolve. Please let me know if there is anything further I can do to help move this matter along.


 


Sincerely,


XXXXX XXXXX

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for that Donna, although I was really just looking for the general issues and didn't need a copy of the entire letter, it was helpful. However, I still need to know how many employees there are where you work and also, can you tell me if you think you are being targeted because of your gender? If not, what do you think makes you different in your supervisor's eyes?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

There are 10 employees total. I'm not sure what my supervisor's issues are with me per se, but I am a triple minority, African-American, woman and gay. So it could be a number of things, I am also 8 years older than him and I believe that annoys him as well. We started off fine last November and then we had a falling out and never really recovered. His condescending behavior has just gotten progressively worse. I was hoping my email would be seen as a "cry for help" but with this write-up I think they are hoping I will quit. I just want to know my rights.

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello again Dee and thank you for your patience. It was important that I have as a complete picture of the issues as possible before answering your question. First, let me say that no one, other than the State can ultimately tell you if you qualify for unemployment benefits, whether you quit or are terminated. That is because every case is decided on the individual facts of that case after both sides are heard. So, no one can ever count on being successful in a claim for unemployment benefits and you should never make your decision to stay or go on the likelihood that you will recieve UI benefits.

In order to qualify though for UI benefits the State must determine that you either were terminated without cause, or quit for "good cause" attributable to the employer. There is no complete laundry list of what is or isn't considered "good cause" to quit in Illinois. However, in general, if the employer is engaged in illegal behavior or there is a major negative change in the terms and conditions of employment AND the employee has exhausted their remedies to resolve the issue with the employer, then that is usually considered good cause.

The reason I asked you about the substance of your grievance and why you thought you might be targeted is that absent unlawful discrimination, what you described, although perhaps unprofessional, is not illegal. In other words, unless you were treated in this way because you are a member of a protected class under employment discrimination laws, or retaliated against for filing a discrimination complaint, the subsequent write up, even if motivated by retaliation for the nondiscrimination complaint, would not be illegal. However, if, as I mentioned, this was all motivated by your gender, race, age (over 40), or some combination, then that would be illegal. However, you would still have to allow the employer to try to resolve the issue before quitting would arguably be considered good cause.

You can read what the questionnaire from the Unemployment Office will look like that you would have to answer should you quit by going to: http://www.ides.illinois.gov/Custom/Library/publications/Forms/VoluntaryLeaveQuestionnaire_ADJ002FC.pdf
This is a discussion of the law I described in terms of "good cause:" http://www.illinoislegalaid.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.dsp_content&contentID=6841

Just as an aside, because your employer has less than 15 employees, technically neither the discrimination laws of Illinois or Federal law apply to their actions. That though is really only important for filing discrimination complaints with the State or Federal Government or suit, but just wanted you to understand that shortcoming in the law.

Please let me know if you have any specific follow up questions. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 17402
Experience: Licensed Attorney with 28 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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