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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20296
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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had a minor miscommunication w/boss. I approached him but before

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had a minor miscommunication w/boss. I approached him but before I got a word in, he was cussing/threatening me. Then started treating me different. Didn't know what to do, so got HR Dept involved cause thought he should be reprimanded. If i'd have said to my boss, the things he said to me, I'm sure i'd have been fired. Even though this was not my mistake, HR Dept made it seem like it was my fault. I like my job, at least i used to But now stuck w/an unstable boss & an HR Dept that's backing HIM up. There's a lot more to this & just wanted to know the options available to me, if any. -Thanks

Thank you for the information and your question. Can you tell me if you are in a union? Also, what do you mean he was "threatening" you? In what way?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Before I could say a word, he said "what the f**k is your problem? Are you on drugs? I'm this close to piss testing you!!" You're not the guy I hired 4 years ago. I was just shocked & studdered a little, he said "are you high now?" because of my studder. Well, i wasn't high & have no problem taking a drug test. I asked him about working overtime, which i'd been doing for months, he told me no, then a day later informed out dept we're on mandatory OT. So why did he just tell me "no" when i asked about working OT??? The kicker to this, its all because he scheduled me off because I had accrued vacation time, but he never told me & I never requested any time off. So he got that way because I showed up to work on my regular shift. Why wouldn't I?? I never requested time off & had no idea he decided to schedule me off. Anyway, there is a lot more...

Hello again Cameron and thank you for your reply, although I don't see where you responded to my question about whether or not you are in a union. If you are, then this would be an issue you would have to resolve through them with a grievance. Otherwise, although I would agree that this behavior was inappropriate from a professional perspective, it is not illegal. In other words, there is no law that prohibits employers from being bullies or even cursing in general unless that behavior is motivated by discriminatory intent against the employee because the employee is a member of a protected class under employment discrimination laws. So, unless your boss is harassing you in a "severe and pervasive (continual)" manner because of your gender, age (over 40), race, national origin, religion, disability, or AIDS/hiv status, then his behavior is not unlawful. Again, that doesn't mean it is appropriate, but the employer can, and often does, treat employees with a lack of respect and, as you know, an employee does not have the right to return that treatment without facing the consequences of potential discipline and termination. That is the nature of the employer/employee relationship. Not even handed by any means, but the laws favor the employer with very few exceptions.

If your boss had touched you without your permission in an aggressive manner or threatened immediate violence, then that would have been criminal and you could file a police report, but otherwise, you have to decide if you can continue to work in this situation or if you want to find other employment where your boss might not be so aggressive and bullying.

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry, i'm not in a union, I work for CREE, a semi- conducter manufacturer. This is still ongoing, since this started, i've submitted ideas to him to make certain processes more effective. He asked me to stop, then soon after, a coworker submitted the exact same ideas & he received praise & advised us to model the process after his. He says i can't work OT like i have been doing since March, while, by the way, being THEE most productive employee in our group. Also, he's crediting others w/my accomplishments. I just feel he blatantly ignores & disreguards my good & prodictive ideas as retaliation for, maybe for taking him to HR. I don't know, it just seems wrong. I give him, solid input on certain items which he just ignores. Feels like b/cause of previous statements, I have no chance of moving forward in my career. My coworkers do certain things, but when i do those exact things, boss sends me nasty emails. I feel i have to either quit or put up with him treating me like an idiot. It hardly seems like i'm going to get any kind of good review, when the time comes. I just read an article about man winning a lawsuit b/cause his coworkers made fun of his studdering. I think this retaliation (or whatever) this is called is far worse, I mean, this is ultimately affecting my career. Even if I can transfer to another dept, he will have to speak with my new boss & I can only imagine the things he would say. If this isn't retaliation harassment, i don't know what is, but if there's nothing I can do, i guess that's that. Thanks for your advice

Hello again and thank you for your reply. I am not sure though what you are basing the "retaliation" allegation on. But, the long and short of it is that the only retaliatory harassment that is unlawful is that which is in response to a complaint of unlawful discrimination, use of FMLA, filing complaints with government agencies of legal violations, and filing of OSHA complaints.

I am also unclear whether or not you are saying that you have a disability (stuttering) and if you are alleging that this is why you are being treated this way. If so, then as I mentioned, you could have a discrimination claim. But, only if this is a disability that you have and if you are being treated this way because of that. In that case, you would have to file a formal disability discrimination complaint with the employer first, and then if they do not resolve the issue, you can file a complaint with the EEOC.
Hello again,

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Thank you.