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I recently tried to bring legal concerns about another

employee in regard to her...
I recently tried to bring legal concerns about another employee in regard to her inappropriate comments at work, possible sexual harassment, and that she may have made the environment hostile for another female. The other female resigned in August, I know she will not say anything, as she has been through this before and she is gun shy. The clinical manager immediately came back and stated that people had complained about me and I was not providing enough training. He also stated that as "senior manager' I should have come to him sooner, in pretty much one word, it was my fault. I am not her direct supervisor and not human resources. I could have handled it better, of course. I resigned the following evening.He sent me an email wanting documentation as there was none in her file and he brought up how serious it was, which of course I get and I tried to bring it to his attention. I resigned prior to this and he also stated that his preliminary investigation had provided no proof. I am sorry that I even brought it up. Am I obligated to give him anything since no longer have a relationship with them and frankly after the way it was portrayed it was my fault, I am reluctant to do anything at this point. I am assuming no contact is the best, ***** ***** words, less is more.
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Answered in 21 minutes by:
12/9/2016
Marc Esq USA
Marc Esq USA, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 366
Experience: Experienced employment law attorney knows the law and provides customized answers and solutions that you can use.
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Dear Eve,

My name is Marc. I'm a licensed attorney, experienced in employment law, and I will be happy to answer your question.

Frankly, you've hit the nail on the head. You need not, nor should not respond to your former manager's request. I trust you didn't sign anything upon your resignation that binds you in any way? If so, please let me know, in which case I will likely revise the analysis. Also, I'm assuming they don't owe you any severance that might be threatened by your failure to respond? Again - let me know if that's the case. If, for example, they owe you or are continuing to pay you severance, they could use that as leverage to pressure you into responding to their demand for documents. The fact that such action would be illegal would not necessarily deter them.

Based on your narrative, it seems that you have nothing to lose by ignoring the manager's email, and you have nothing to gain by responding to it. Furthermore, given the fact that this matter took a turn unfavorable to you, it seems you would be more likely to cause yourself harm if you embroil yourself any further. Accordingly, your instinct to break contact and move on is wise.

I hope they won't pursue you any further. But if they do, it seems you should maintain your distance since they have no legal basis to compel you to respond or to produce any documents.

Good luck! I hope my answer has eased your anxiety somewhat by affirming your sound instinct. If so, please feel free to rate my answer, since that is the only way I can receive credit.

Kind regards,

Marc

Marc Esq USA
Marc Esq USA, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 366
Experience: Experienced employment law attorney knows the law and provides customized answers and solutions that you can use.
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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Marc,Thank you for the thoughtful response. I did not sign anything except prior to his email wanting more documentation I provided a resignation email. They do owe me for salary for 36 hours and PTO. However at this point, I want nothing to do with it and my husband and I will make it work. I will remain silent. I do have further documentation which I will keep to myself gladly and not say anything else.

Ok - I hope you'll find a new (and more pleasant) employer soon! Also, don't be surprised if you do receive a check for the PTO. Payroll departments often have nothing to do with and no knowledge of the details of terminations or resignations. So, you may well receive it automatically. Still - it's always wise to prepare for the worst, which you seem to be doing. It's certainly no fun being in this situation during the holidays. But I admire your clear thinking and resolve. Best of luck!

Marc

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Marc,
One more question, he also sent me an email prior to the one demanding documentation (which I did not respond to either) stating that I was not fulfilling my agreement to finish working the pay period (3 days, Thursday and today) and I was not going to teach the class that I had agreed to in my first letter of resignation. I had let them know in December that I was dropping to part time because of my other job. Does this really change anything? Thanks - Eve

I highly doubt it changes anything. This issue is whether you were contractually obligated to perform that work. Depending on a variety of circumstances, your first resignation letter could be construed as an employment contract, in which case your failure to perform as promised would be a breach. The employer could hold you liable for damages, including any costs incurred from having to find a replacement. But this seems very unlikely because it would be very difficult to prove that your first letter manifested an enforceable promise to perform. Moreover, even if it could be construed as a promise, it appears to have been superseded by your subsequent letter.

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PS - thanks for the rating and bonus!

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Marc,
Thanks for the response. I am sorry, one more question, would it be considered to be retaliation if he did that given the circumstances? I stated in my initial resignation specifically that I would complete the class for them. And then after my encounter with him, I worked my final shift and resigned in the morning. The note was positive, wishing them well and that it was effective the day of my last shift. I did not sign anything in the end. My job description is as a paramedic and an EMS educator, not an educator for the clinic.

Hi Eve,

I don't see retaliation at issue here. Retaliation applies when an employee makes a complaint or takes some action in response to some form of discrimination in the workplace. If the employer, in response to the employee's action, imposes some kind of negative employment consequence (termination, demotion, harassment, etc.), then that is retaliation, which is illegal under the laws regarding equality in the workplace.

In your case, you complained about possible sexual harassment by one person against another employee - not yourself. And as a result of your complaint, you were criticized and ultimately compelled to resign. It's not clear exactly why they were upset at you, though this was probably a common reaction of management of deflecting charges of wrongdoing in order to avoid having to accept responsibility. The way they responded towards you was certainly reprehensible and irresponsible. But it was not illegal because you were not the subject of the complained-of sexual harassment.

The worker who you were concerned about - i.e., the one who was made to feel uncomfortable or harassed - would have a cause of action against the employer, however. And the fact that she resigned already would not bar her from making a claim. If she was sexually harassed and felt compelled to resign because of it, she should consider consulting with an attorney and filing a complaint with the EEOC. Your testimony, it seems, could be a source of strong support for any such claim that she makes.

The fact that you're not an educator would undermine any claim the employer could make against you for having breached any agreement to teach the class. Your initial resignation letter alone did not form a contract or an enforceable promise to teach the class. And given that teaching was not even your job, the employer cannot claim any reasonable basis for relying on any such purported promise.

Let me know if this helps.

Marc

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Marc Esq USA
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