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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19312
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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I work at a thrift store. I had an asset manager that was

Customer Question

I work at a thrift store. I had an asset manager that was very verbal abusive. Started cursing me in front of the employees which was quite embarrassing. Plays one employee against others. Uses very disrespectful language to employees and customer's. I did call human resources on Tues and told me they would have a meeting with the dm and owner and call to let me know if this situation can be resoved. They said they would call me in 24 hrs to which 2 days later I have heard nothing. I really like and respect the workers I work with. She humiliated me in front of my Co workers and the disrespect she showed was really embarrassing. She's talks bad about every manager and just employees on a daily basis and Noone seems to have the nerve to tell her u can't talk or treat people that way. She really doesn't care what she says how she says or who she says it in front off. She is definitely not a person that should be In a manager position. What if anything can I do? Working there just doesn't seem to be an option as I am a 44 year old woman that treats people with respect and gets along with everyone I work with. She's told other.employees cause she's a woman and from another country that she knows she has job security. Guess if your just a normal American woman we will be gone before her. She will tell employees she's untouchable. I have several employees that she's done the same thing to. They said if I need witnesses that they would be one for me. Not sure what the law is but I am doing my research. Thank you for your time
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

In employment law, if you don't have an employment contract specifically stating that you can only be terminated for cause, you are an 'at will' employee. I know you didn't mentioned termination, but this is important to understand because it establishes your employment status. If you are an "at will" employee, that severely limits your options or protections. Most people are "at will" employees, so it is very likely that you are too. If you have a contract like that, the answer is sue for breach of contract, because part of having a contract for your job is being able to work that job in peace.

However, without a contract, how does the law look at harassment? The Supreme Court stated, when it defined "hostile work environment" that our employment laws are not meant to be a civility code. Instead, it is only intended to stop illegal forms of harassment, specifically made illegal by statute. Among those would be harassment directed at your race, religion, gender, age, disability, recent FMLA use, worker's compensation use, OSHA complaints or wage and hour complaints to the Department of Labor. Generalized harassment, meaning the unprofessional behavior of someone which isn't directed at any of those factors, is not illegal in employment law. If the harassment is based on one of these factors (or you believe it may be), then you file an EEOC complaint for the race, religion, gender, age or disability discrimination, a Department of Labor complaint for the FMLA or wage and hour discrimination, or an OSHA complaint for the OSHA discrimination.

If you can't point to one of those factors as the basis for the treatment, you can next look at the employer's handbook or written policies to see if anything in there creates a right to work in a harassment free workplace. If so, you can technically sue the employer for breach of that implied contract. This gets tricky because it really is only useful to do if you are fired or after you quit. Unlike a complaint to the EEOC, DOL or OSHA, suing a company for breach of contract doesn't come with protection against retaliation.

Finally, there is the option to complain to HR or some boss over the manager, explaining that continued treatment like this will force you to have to quit. This could get you terminated (and you'd get unemployment), but it is intended to set up the right to resign and still get unemployment because you gave the employer the chance to resolve the issue and they did not.