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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19103
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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I work in NYC and live in Wisconsin. My boss has been trying

Customer Question

I work in NYC and live in Wisconsin. My boss has been trying to get me to quit since October. I had a meeting with her yesterday and she met with HR before I was asked to come in. I had an open case with HR because I felt it was a hostile work environment in the fall but unfortunately the HR director was fired (?) the Monday after Thanksgiving. The HR person I met with yesterday and my boss was the new director that started the day before. She didn't talk with me about my open case before this meeting and was quite hostile herself and was completely on my boss's side. They did not fire me yesterday but I think it will happen tomorrow. I have received Exceeds on my annual performance reviews 3 years in a row (done in June). Any advice?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for trusting your question to JA today. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of law practice and over 20 years of experience in the legal field. I’m happy to be of assistance.

A common misconception about HR is that they are neutral or supposed to be neutral (some even think there are laws requiring this), but it's entirely untrue. HR works for the company. They help employees to the extent that it helps the company and that is always their goal, so it is not shocking to me that HR seemed hostile towards you.

In employment law, hostile work environment does not mean what many people think it means. It does not mean a place of work that is generally hostile or contentious. Instead, according to the Supreme Court of the U.S., it refers to a harassing workplace where the harassment itself is based on race, religion, gender, age, disability or FMLA use. You didn't mention any of these things in your question, so I am concerned that you aren't alleging any of those things. If you are not, then legally the employer doesn't have an obligation to address the complaint and HR can instead work towards terminating you, if that is the company goal. This is because, in employment law, if you don't have an employment contract that expressly states you can only be terminated for cause, you can legally be terminated at any time. This is called "at will" employment and makes up nearly all of us, as employees.

Unfortunately, if you have no contract and you are not alleging discrimination based on one of the factors I mentioned, you rights are restricted to whatever they have as an internal company policy (which I can't address).

Now, if you were alleging (or are now alleging), discrimination based on one of those factors, and HR is not helping, now is the time to contact the EEOC in your state (unless FMLA and then you contact the Department of Labor) to file a complaint.

If you have any further questions, please let me know. I invite follow up questions, so use REPLY for those. If you have no further questions then good luck going forward and please do not forget to rate my service with a top-three rating so that I receive credit for working with you today. Also, feel free to request me in the future, if you have questions concerning a different matter.

Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I wanted to check in and make sure that there was not any additional information that you required.

If you need further assistance, please use REPLY and ask me for any additional information you may need. If not, take care and have a great day.