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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 27083
Experience:  Employment Law Expert
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While away at a company meeting back in feb 2013 with our company

Customer Question

While away at a company meeting back in feb 2013 with our company my Regional Vice President was drunk and slapped me in the face twice in front of my peers.. I was humiliated and torn down as a man. He had no reason to touch me, I didn't say anything to provoke his actions.. I built a great reputation for myself and built great respect from my peers along with other associates.. I felt he took that away from me that night.. I was afraid to say something until this week when questioned by a company attorney as I feared retaliation. A district manager was recently fired and bought this up without me knowing.. This person caught me off guard and I wasn't sure if he would say something to the VP and feared retaliation..
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

JD 1992 :

Hello, and thank you for contacting Just Answer. I am an expert here and I look forward to assisting you today.

JD 1992 :

Is there a specific question I could assist you with?

Customer :

Yes, I didn't report this issue because I feared retaliation... when called by senior advisor from my company I told him it wasn't a big deal and I played it down.. I then called my boss and let him know what really happened that night.. I want to be sure I can still be honest with this issue.. In fact it was a big deal and it has bothered BMW f

Customer :

It has bothered me for months.. I haven't slept etc.. I just didn't want to be part of something like this so I tried to get over it... This gentleman called me and said I maybe disposed... I can't lie under oath, I need to tell the truth.. I know at least two other people saw exactly what happened...

JD 1992 :

I understand your concern, is there a question I can assist with?

Customer :

Can get in trouble for not saying anything? I would have left it alone if it weren't for the district manager that was terminated.. Will this officer lose his job for striking a subordinate?

JD 1992 :

You can't get into legal trouble. Your employer may look down on it and if he does this to someone else in the company, particularly someone lower on the corporate ladder than you are then it could cause some issues.

JD 1992 :

If you are deposed you will be under oath and you have to tell the truth.

Customer :

can I get in trouble for not being up front with senior council When he called? He called me about a week ago.. I really didn't know who this guy was and didn't feel comfortable talking to him about it...

Customer :

what kind of case would I have against the company for this guy hitting me? I don't want to take action against the company but I do think this guy should be dealt with..

JD 1992 :

I'm not sure what you mean by "in trouble". Most of the states are what are known as "employment at will" states which means an employer can discipline you for any reason including not being forthcoming about something like this so the employer can certainly do something.

JD 1992 :

There is probably not a lot that can be done to the company. Anything against the company would probably trigger workers comp. You would have an action against the person that did it.

Customer :

do you think I did the right thing? What should I have done differently?

JD 1992 :

You probably should have reported it when it happened but you definitely would be well advised to be up front with corporate counsel.

JD 1992 :

Something must have happened for them to be calling you about this.

JD 1992 :

Is it possible he attacked someone else?

Customer :

yes, the district manager that was terminated bought it up on my behalf.. I had no idea this was going to happen, the guy caught me off guard when he called me... i have been with the company for 22 years and have an impeccable record.. as far as I know he didn't attack anyone Else..

JD 1992 :

There has to be a lawsuit pending for them to depose you. He may have just said that as a threat though.

Customer :

it seems the district manager that was terminated has retained an attorney and he is trying to prove that the Vp's character is rough... I really didn't want to get caught up in this...

JD 1992 :

Ah. That explains it.

JD 1992 :

At this point if they ask you then you probably need to come clean and be totally honest about it.

Customer :

What should I tell them if they ask me why I wasn't up front right away with Sr Counsel? I really just feared my job and didn't want to take action against this guy.

JD 1992 :

That should make them less likely to do anything to you and also allows them to prepare for the lawsuit.

JD 1992 :

Be honest about it, that you were afraid he would retaliate against you.

Customer :

I have to tell you, that is very true.. I called my boss today and he bought it to the attention of our HR team in corporate. I feel more comfortable talking to them rather than sr counsel. What do you recommend I do? Leave it at that or call sr counsel back?

JD 1992 :

Call HR and then see if they want you to talk to the lawyer. You can also consider hiring your own lawyer to sit in with you. That can provide you some reassurance.

Customer :

Well since this is going to come to light now along with witnesses that saw him hit me, do you think he will lose his job?

JD 1992 :

I think there is a very real chance he will lose his job.

Customer :

he was very drunk at the bar that night and kept buying shots... At one point a few of us said we don't want anymore and he called us a bunch of pussies...

JD 1992 :

Anything the District Manager says about him will probably be believed now.

Customer :

a lot of us feel he really targeted this guy and was out to get him.. the district manager had some of the best numbers in our region as well as some of the best employer of choice surveys in our region.. he was a 23 year guy who had the upmost integrity etc.

JD 1992 :

My guess is the VP is on his way out. Too much potential liability on the company.

Customer :

the other reason I kept it quiet was because I didn't want our senior leadership to think any less of me..

JD 1992 :

The company should understand your reasons.

Customer :

as far as saying something right after this happened.. Another vp asked me about it apparently someone said something to him.. I told him what happened and I told him to just

Customer :

Leave it alone, I will be fine.. I think he took it like a few guys at the bar having some drinks and kidding around.. The fact of the matter is I was humiliated and embarrassed to say something about it...

JD 1992 :

I think you're going to be okay. You did tell a "higher up" about what happened.

Customer :

funny I told the director of HR for the region and he just blew it off. I didn't say anything more because I didn't think he was going to take it anywhere.. Into sure why he wouldn't take something like that serious or was he trying to protect the VP??.. I told him kind of matter of fact the next day in the airport.. That also made me feel uncomfortable when he didn't ask questions.. He was actually there that night and saw the VP kind of losing control.. Instead of protecting him and telling him lets go the night is over he high tailed it out of there...

JD 1992 :

I don't know but that could get him in trouble as well. You will also want to mention that because since you did actually discuss it with someone in HR and a VP then you did what you were suppised to.

Customer :

at that point I feel it would be my word vs his... I'm sure he would say he doesn't remember.. The conversation. The company has been aware that 12 district managers and 6 regional managers intake issue with the way we are all treated by this guy.. We had a live facilitated 360 on this guy almost a year ago because everyone complained about him, that went pretty bad and the company just left him here and hasn't followed up since anyone of us about him to ask if things were getting better etc...

JD 1992 :

They'll regret their decision now with this lawsuit pending. You can bet you're not the only one he has messed around and they will all start coming forward now.

Customer :

I actually have fear retaliation now since I got it out today.. I have had trouble breathing over the last few days etc deciding on what to do.. This thing has really screwed up my head since it happened in feb. at times I have had trouble performing with my wife and many sleepless nights... I have never feels made to feel like such a piece of dirt in my entire life.. I am very good at what I do, I actually won regional manager of the year for the company at our annual meeting in Vegas.

JD 1992 :

At this point it is incredibly unlikely they will retaliate in any way.

Customer :

Do you think even though I told the VP to leave it alone that it was no big deal he should have acted upon it anyway?

JD 1992 :

Maybe the VP but definitely the HR guy.

Customer :

The SR counsel guy told me he spoke to the VP that hit me... So I know he is aware of this whole thing right now.. I'm just not sure who he thinks told the company about it... That's what scares me.. This guy rode back to the hotel with us on the shuttle bus and was mother fNG the shuttle bus driver.. He told him to stop the FNG bus and get us some pot... I couldn't even turn around and look at him, I thought he might say or do something again to me...

JD 1992 :

The only thing I can suggest is to hire your own lawyer but I don't know that's it's necessary. You may want to do it and then he can talk to counsel for you.

JD 1992 :

Was there anything else I can assist with?

Customer : I think I'm good for now... Thx for the advice!
JD 1992 :

Best wishes to you on this. I don't think you have to worry based on what you said.

JD 1992 :

I'm going to exit now and assist others, please don;t forget to leave a Positive Rating so I get credit for my work.

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