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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Is there a conflict of interest when a small business owner

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Is there a conflict of interest when a small business owner (who hires/fires) is the self-designated H.R. manager and does performance evaluations. The company structure is owner/licensure overseer --> three program managers --> administrative support staff (me & others) --> clinicians. These evaluations, among other things, ask for employee perspectives on weaknesses/needed improvements within management. This boss also does not understand a disabled person's rights under the ADA or how this disability fleshes out in day-to-day work environment (disability is a significant hearing impairment where I wear two powerful hearing aids and dietary restrictions that require me to wear gloves at work and all food consumption must be off premises). After many diligent self-efforts failing to resolve difficulties caused in the workplace, I respectfully XXXXX XXXXX accommodations. Some accommodations were indeed made in good faith, but this owner cannot discern the difference between constructive coping techniques made necessary by disability to accomplish the task and what looks like redundant efforts that waste time for the average worker. It has created an atmosphere of disrespect--and job description lines are blurred and re-arranged without conferring or any written notice being given. She even reprimanded me in front of others when I asked for certain free/reasonable accommodations. (Some of that was due to ignorance of nature of disability.) Combining those factors with a desire to hear only positive feedback, this makes it difficult to be open and honest about disability and for me to ask enough questions to fully understand job expectations. Especially at an annual evaluation! I was open about my disability and limitations from the very beginning, even though I wasn't required to be. So many factors of this issue fall in gray areas. Would appreciate guidance.
Good evening and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do everything I can to answer your question.

To answer your direct question about conflict of interest, the answer is that an owner serving as HR manager conducting performance evaluations does not pose any sort of illegal conflict. That said, you may very well be experiencing the early stages of disability discrimination here.

Disability discrimination claims are highly fact-intensive, since the "reasonableness" of accommodations depends on the unique circumstances of employment and since retaliation often takes subtle forms which require context to recognize. The very most important thing you can do if you believe you are being victimized by disability discrimination is to document everything that is going on. Quite literally, you will want to carry a journal and make note of every instance in which you believe you were unfairly reprimanded or treated as a result of your disability or a request for disability accommodation.

At this stage, legal action is likely premature, simply because you have not sustained a quantifiable damage which would justify the cost and time you will inevtiably expend on litigation. However, if you are demoted or fired, you will definitely want to consult with an employment law attorney about bringing an action for disability discrimination and violation of the ADA. If you have been taking notes leading up to that point documenting every instance of discrimination and retaliation, you should have substantial support for your claim.

Knowing what to do is no more impotant than knowing when to do it, and the time to take action is typically after susbtantial evidence of discriminatory/retlaiatory intent has been gathered and a quantifiable harm has occurred which will justify the time and expense of litigation. This, ordinarily speaking, wouldbe the best course of action under the circumstances.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes and kindest regards.

most discrimination takes a subtle rather than overt form and it is therefore necessary to compare
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