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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 111683
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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I worked company over 2 months. During

Customer Question

Hello.
I worked for a company for just over 2 months. During this time I was to be oriented to my job. For one of the weeks I worked with an individual who refused. She stated, " I cant tell you what to do because I feel I would be bossing you around." This was reported to management.
I spent the total of about one week working with other (2) staff people who were very hostile. I had decided to disregard this, as I know well some people are not nice. I was called to the supervisor's office and informed these women had complained that I was difficult to work with. During the (difficult) meeting my supervisor informed me that one of the named individuals had had personnel problems during the last year. She asked if I had any suggestions as what to do. She was very understanding and appeared supportive. I stated that I could try to continue to be nice and professional, etc. She stated that "wouldn't do any good," and that I was very kind and professional.
She stated that the person who complained about me wanted to meet with me. She stated she was giving us both lunch tickets, and said, "You can both have lunch on me." I was enthused at possibly bettering the relationship.
One week later the person approached me however refused to sit down and visit. She wanted to talk in the hallway. This was strange and uncomfortable. I aquiesced, she quitely berated me for being difficult. I told her I would like to improve my relationship in that office etc. She did not answer when I asked her how she would like to improve the situation. She stated at me. I thanked her for meeting with me, and offered my hand for a handshake. Upon returning to my computer, I send her a thank you email for the visit. I informed my supervisor that the individual refused to sit down and discuss the issue. She said, 'Keep the lunch ticket for yourself."
Since that time the staff from that office would not acknowledge my greetings. That is inconsequential, as I think you will agree.
Unlike any other nursing job Ive held in the last 15 years, I had no "preceptor" or one person to whom I reported, conversed, asked questions throughout training. I did discuss this with management. Thus for the last 2 weeks of my employment, I was paired with an individual who had previously been kind and appeared very interested in working with me.
Her demeanor what very different than what I had previously experienced. Her comments to me included, "You know, you're very slow. You don't catch on very quick, do you?" She stated I had, in my initial resume, indicated much more experience than I actually have. When a visitor entered our shared tiny office he commented upon its small size and stated it was "Good you two get along." She told him we did not. He looked surprised and said "That doesn't sound good." She said it was the truth. I will say I was surprised, as I thought we got along well, as long as I kept accepting her comments.
During our last couple of weeks working together she often laughed when I asked a question, or for any direction. This included the time another time a coworker asked how I was doing and I said I was catching on. She laughed loudly and said, "Well, a little, but you're not catching on much at all."
During one of my last weeks, she said I had one week to catch up or I was fired. She said I had to handle a full case load and learn 'everything' I had not thusfar, or I was done. I nearly quit the following Monday. That day I asked my supervisor (one of two) if this was the case. She stated it was not, that they needed to catch me up, however that was not at all true.
The following week, prior to the nasty coworker going on vacation, she reitterated the same statement. However she was of course absent the following week, and I was relaxed and felt I was doing well. My trainer for that week stated several times that I was "doing great" and "you're doing better than I am." On Friday that week, I was called to Human Resources. I was very surprised. I had a written resignation I'd prepared that day.
I walked into the HR office. As soon as my supervisor stated, "Your documentation is improving" I handed her my resignation. She appeared very surprised.The HR staff lady said, "Whats going on?" She offered that I stay and talk. I said I did not want to. She said I could return the next week. I did so on the following Tuesday.
We spoke for one hour. She said they "Felt very bad" She said I did nothing wrong, and no one was upset with me. She said that they "Waited until the first of the month, since we cant give you any money," so I would have one month of benefits.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
What is your actual question, if the company says you voluntarily quit in lieu of them terminating you, what is the problem with filling out the unemployment application with that information?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I quit on Friday. I was told the following Tuesday (I believe I wrote you it was Monday) that management had been planning to let me go.
The hostile work environment in which I worked was reported to management by me, was to my knowledge not addressed or did not change, and was the major factor in my resignation.
According the the HR staff person I spoke with Tuesday after I quit, she stated she was sure the hostility issue (my phrasing) was not addressed by management.
I did not resign in lieu of termination. Any reason I should be concerned about HR staff telling me I resigned in lieu of termination? Or HR telling me they wanted me dismissed after the first of the month in order to prolong receipt of benefits since they coudnt give me money?
My letter of termination from HR, given to me Tuesday,states that the facility received my letter of resignation. There is nothing in the two page letter stating it was in lieu of termination.
I resigned largely due to a hostile work environment, which I reported to management. Im fairly sure I assume I have no recourse.
Thank you. Any thoughts?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
While many employees face what they believe to be a "hostile work environment," the term itself does not give rise to a legally actionable claim. The US Supreme Court has held that to be legally actionable a hostile work environment must be based only on the age/race/sex/disability/national origin of the employee and absent that basis the law is not intended to create a code of civility in the workplace. See: Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, 523 U.S. 75 (1998). So while there very well could have been a hostility issue at work, without it being only based on your age/race/sex/disability/national origin, you would not have a legally actionable claim in a court against the employer.
As far as the HR person giving you the "out" that you quit in lieu of termination, they are actually giving you grounds for claiming unemployment as long as the reason they were going to terminate you was not misconduct on your part.
If the letter did not SAY "in lieu of termination" then that is a problem, because the reason for your termination is only what is stated in that letter and if the letter does not say, "in lieu of termination" then unemployment will not consider that. In order to file for unemployment benefits, you would have to have been terminated through no fault of your own or you had to quit voluntarily based only on good cause related to your employment. So you have good cause related to your employment in that you are claiming the other employee's essentially bullied you (even though there is no legal suit for bullying, it is a ground for quitting recognized by unemployment).