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My friend (in her early 50s) works in a small (30 person) NYC office, where she is being bullied by her immediate boss who also happens to be the office manager and HR manager. Isn't this a conflict of interest? (the parent company is a larger company from Georgia). Is it legal to have one person have so much power? What can my friend do? She had excellent relationship & reviews from bully until she "complained' about her workload since a coworker left a month ago.
Thank you for your response. I made my friend aware of your response and she has another question. In your description of discrimination, does a 'disability' have to be obvious? For example, a stutterer, or a person in a wheelchair? Or can a disability be something the employer doesn't know because it is not readily evident or diagnosed (ex: previous anxiety attacks, or someone who is a very highly functional person with autism)?
Although my friend has only been at this job for a year (the bully boss is there three years), she knows she is being bullied/retaliated against because she dared 'complain' to boss about her workload for the past month since her coworker left. The plan was always that a replacement would be found internally or hired, but nothing has been done. In a private conversation with bully boss last week, boss admitted that my friend was seen as a perfect 'Stepford Employee', but that she 'changed' when the coworker left.
She believes she is being bullied because boss has been placing unreasonable expectations on her, where failure to meet those expectations means making life unpleasant (or dismissing) her because she spoke up for herself. The boss has emailed her and said she better see gross improvement or else. So for a month now, my friend has had trouble sleeping, digestive problems, etc because of toxic environment. It's ironic that bully boss wrote the company handbook which was just distributed 3 months ago, which clearly states that "any employee who believes s/he is being harassed by anyone in the company, or believes his/her employment is being adversely affected by such conduct, should immediately report their concerns to HR. No adverse employment action will be taken against any employee based on that employee's filing of a harrasment complaint in good faith. There will be no discrimination or recrimination against any employee because s/he in good faith presents a concern, problem, or opportunity. All employees have an obligation to stop discrimination and all forms of harrasment from occurring and must report conduct which they observe that violates this policy."
My friend has not attempted to contact anyone in the parent company yet. The chain of command outlined in handbook leaves only the president of the company (who is in Georgia) because all other options involves the bully boss herself.
Thank you for explanation re disability. No, this doesn't meet criteria for unlawful harrasment, but my friend is having a very hard time working with/for her boss now.
The chain of command is 1) tell your immediate supervisor. 2) If situation is not resolved, see your manager's supervisor. -Boss doesn't have one because post of Exec VP/General Manager is open TBD. 3) If still not satisfied, go to HR. 4) If after a thorough review of the matter, you still feel your concerns have not been resolved, you may go to the president.
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