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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12801
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I am in Human Resources and my current boss has insinuated

Customer Question

I am in Human Resources and my current boss has insinuated that I am to provide feedback to her for my growth for the upcoming year. I am currently in a Director role, and am aware there are no areas for me to grow as she has changed all existing HR personnel to a "flat" structure where they "own" one piece of HR, such as comp, benefits, performance management. Coming onboard she disseminated my role to others and now gives me generalist work, does not allow me to perform at the level of my experience or title. My latest performance review stated that my team (I have 4 reports) and I performed exceptionally well, I meet or exceed expectations but there is limitations to my role although I could do far greater things. I feel as though this is her way of working me out of the organization. she has requested a firm deadline for me to let her know where I would like to grow and what I would like to do, has suggested perhaps I would want to move into a different role in the company or move outside the company to take a role that would allow growth I am seeking. In the interim, she has brought an employee from outside the US into our budget and titled them higher than me (it was lateral in her eyes due to titling structure in that county) and gave them high level priorities, management exposure and more compelling work. How do I approach my next meeting as I do not wish to leave the organization and my current salary/stability but do feel there is an imminent overtone.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question. This is a very tough situation because employment in the state of Georgia is "at will" absent an express agreement to the contrary. At will employment can be terminated for any reason not amounting to discrimination on the basis of a legally protected trait (race, religion, gender, etc.) or retaliation for engaging in certain forms of legally protected conduct (filing a wage claim, taking FMLA leave, etc.). It doesn't matter whether the basis for termination is fair, reasonable or even true. Since employees can be terminated for no good reason or even no reason at all, the law does not regulate reviews, evaluations, title changes, or responsibility changes. If your employer truly wanted you gone, they could do so immediately without jumping through any of those hoops. It sounds harsh, but the only form of job security that employees generally have is to make their employers want to continue employing them. So, all you can really do is work with what your boss is giving you here. This means explaining that you feel stifled and would like to grow with the company but that you do not feel as though you are being given the opportunity to do so. This means finding ways to appease your boss, even if you don't think you should have to and even though you know that you are are being underutilized as an employee. It is unpleasant, but there is simply no other option if you wish to keep this job because you have no right to continued employment. I hope that you find this information helpful and am genuinely sorry if it is not what you were hoping to hear. 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.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response. I am a protected class female and have not been given the same opportunity to select my career path as my colleagues have been given and prior to her hire, was relocated to Atlanta from LA with a pay increase and relocation to remedy some of the performance and cultural issues in this location. Shortly after this occured, my boss of several years was terminated and replaced with my current boss. I don't feel a stellar performance record of seven years should be subject to a change in structure without some retribution on my part. My collegues are all under 40 with the exception of one. Do you feel I should preemptively request a package or continue to placate my boss and work to a lower capacity than I am able?
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply. In order to have a gender discrimination claim you would have to prove that this is happening to you BECAUSE you are female. If your boss is female, I don't think you would stand much of a chance convincing a jury that your female boss is discriminating against you because you are female. The same principle applies to age. It is illegal to discriminate against an employee BECAUSE that employee is over 40, but it's the motive that matters. Simply being over 40 does not convert an unfavorable employment action into an illegal one. You would need more evidence of age discrimination than simply the fact that your colleagues are younger. Perhaps if other older employees are also being treated unfairly, or if derogatory comments are made about your age you would be able to prove that age is your employer's motive here. Ultimately, you would need to convince a jury that this was your employer's true reason "more likely than not." For these reasons, if it were me in your shoes I would try to leverage a severance package of some kind and look for employment elsewhere where I am given reasonable opportunities to succeed. Again, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.Very best wishes.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello again,I just wanted to followup with you to make sure that you did not have any further questions or concerns. For some unknown reason, the experts are not always getting replies or ratings (which is how we get credit for our work) that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I have not yet received either. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the site administrator.In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed.Very best wishes.