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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 16809
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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I'm being bullied and harassed at work. I've filed a complaint

Customer Question

I'm being bullied and harassed at work. I've filed a complaint with the Board of the small non-profit I work for. They are refusing to do anything saying that my supervisor hasn't broken any official policy. I have multiple witnesses and they will not interview them. Now, they are pressuring me to resign and offering a very small severance package. I do not want to resign because then I will loss unemployment. Additionally, this supervisor has done the same thing to 14 others in the last 4 years. The Board chair acknowledges that this has happened.
What are my options? I can't file an EEOC claim because the organization employs less than 15 people.
Submitted: 2 years ago via EmployeeIssues.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Can you tell me why you feel that you're being harassed?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have documentation of events, should I upload to you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
This isn't the document!
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 years ago.
What I mean is do you know the reason that you're being harassed? Is it based on your race, age, religion, gender, disability, or is it merely because your boss is a jerk?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Got it. She is a jerk - and has been doing this for years. I was hired as her successor and she was never happy about it.
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 years ago.
I see. I am sorry to hear about that. First of all, you need to understand that Maryland is an "at will" employment state. At-will employment means that without a contract, you have no contractual or other right to employment with the company. The company is entitled to fire you for any reason: a good reason, a poor reason, or no reason at all--as long as the company does not fire you for an illegal reason (race, gender, age, religion, etc...). But it extends beyond firing, to hiring, promotions, demotions, wage cuts and raises, disciplinary actions, and even scheduling. Unless you can show that this was done in violation of a contract, union agreement, or a clear violation of an unambiguous and binding clause against the employer, or that it was done because of some minority status (age, race, gender, religion, disability) that you have, then they do have this discretion. You're correct that there are minimum employee thresholds for many laws that the EEOC administers. State and local laws can lower that amount of employees, so while Federal laws might not apply, state or local ones could. The point is, however, that the law doesn't outlaw "discrimination" or "harassment". Only illegal discrimination or illegal harassment is illegal. And that's based on race, age, religion, gender, disability, or in retaliation for protected legal activities such as filing a wage claim or taking protected medical leave. You don't have recourse simply because your boss is a jerk, even if she's a massive jerk. The law doesn't outlaw that. And so if you're being discriminated against or harassed because your boss is a jerk, that's legal (although completely unethical, illogical, and immoral, I'll agree). I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!x
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Can they force me to say that I am resigning although they suggested that I leave the company and offered a severance package? I don't want to be ineligible for unemployment.
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 years ago.
They can tell you resign or be fired. If it's truly an involuntary resignation (you don't have an option to stay) then the unemployment board would view that the same as being fired. Re: severance, Maryland law does not require employers to provide employees with severance pay. If an employer chooses to provide severance benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. Now it can establish a policy by "practice" rather than written policy, but to establish any sort of discrimination, you would need to show that one class of individuals was disproportionately benefits (for instance, only males got severance packages and females didn't) to have a claim of discrimination in that matter. As for the "leverage" to negotiate a severance package, it doesn't sound like you have much, if any. Again, Maryland is an "at will" employment state and employers have discretion in this regard. Severance packages are generally offered in exchange for the signing of a waiver of any claims that you would have against the company, if any. If you had evidence that you were targeted for race, age, gender, religion, etc... then you could use that as leverage to get a bigger severance (because you could make a claim otherwise).
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok, thanks.
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 years ago.
My pleasure.If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** good luck to you!
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 years ago.
Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 years ago.
Are you there? Please note that I am still here, awaiting your response or rating... (please note that rating closes this question out, so if there's nothing else, please rate it so that I can assist other customers that are waiting for answers to their questions)
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 years ago.
Should I continue to await your response, or may I assist the other customers that are waiting?
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 years ago.
My apologies, but I must assist the other customers that are waiting. If there's nothing else, please rate this answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better) AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. ▼ RATING REQUIRED! ▼ Please don't forget to Rate my service as OK Service or higher. It's only then I am credited. If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!