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Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 8184
Experience:  JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
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I feel my employer is trying to retaliate against me, by

Customer Question

I feel my employer is trying to retaliate against me, by transferring me to an unreasonable location in order to have me quit, for several incidents where I did not agree with unfair practices he uses, or statements he's made, and most recently for making a complaint to HR about our wage/payscale. In January my company changed our payscale to keep a distance above the rising minimum wage, but the plan was rushed and put into action leaving large gaps where the pay is unfair for certain people who were promoted before their hire date, in essence making it a numbers game rather than performance based to keep the rate fair for people in the same position as they claim. I spoke with my area manager several times about the issue because at the time the current store manager took a leave of absence and I was required to fill in for him. I would be working 60+ hours a week and felt is was unfair I was working at the lesser pay scale. He lied to me on several occasions stating he was waiting for information from HR regarding this and ultimately I had to speak to HR myself, who stated they explained the scale to him and he wad supposed to explain it to me afterwards. This happened twice, once in February, when i was denied my yearly review, where I was informed because of the company's decision to raise wages in January, it counted as my review, and again in July. For months I was subjected to running an understaffed store with new hires or trainees, who according to their own policy shouldn't have even been working on these vehicles until they were certified, and in essence left myself and the 1 other assistmanager working 6 days a week, open to close, where we often couldn't take a lunch because we could not leave these half trained workers unsupervised in order to take an uninterrupted meal period. In those cases we are supposed to be entitled to a meal penalty, however the area manager threatens write up, suspensions and even termination for members of management who opt to take the meal penalty, as the company recently was involved in a class action suit for not allowing the permitted lunch breaks, and meal penalties would reflect that practice still being in place despite the suit. That said there were many days I would be doing the job of 2-4 employees because despite several pleas, they would not transfer any qualified people to the location, even after several verbal disagreements on the phone and in person about these practices. With that being said as soon as the previous manager returned, despite claims that once he returned he would be managing a different location, they've now made several attempts to urge me to quit or fire me. I do not currently have my own transportation, nor at my time of hire did I, and I was assured by the previous area manager that I would be kept local providing I would manage travel between closer Hollywood stores. The original store I was hired for is approximately 15-20 minutes from my home, as are several other locations I have moved to over the course of my 3 and a half years of employment. Some were easier to manage and some a little less, but none as outright unreasonable as this current transfer. Some other incidents include me being outspoken about the firing of another employee for doing a side job, a brake job, with the consent and help of a previous store manager, only for the employee to be fired for breaking company rules and doing the job, and the manager keeping his position. This manager, mind you, was hired directly by the area manager because he was his next door neighbor and a former service manager, something they both openly joked about on the job. Another incident during my stint as store manager involves an employee who was hurt on the job and was to recieve reasonable accommodation until she was better. In one instance a different store manager, who previously worked for the area manager before he was promoted, happened to be at the store and asked this employee to do some cleaning in the "pit" as we call it in the quick lube industry. This would require her lifting heavy grates, and extensive twisting and moving which could injure her back further. She let this manager know this and that she was on restrictions and this manager became livid and highly unprofessional. She pulled me to the side, and states "I just told this fat heffa to clean and she's saying she can't do nothing" I inform her of what the employee already has, so she opts to call the area manager, where he precedes to verbally assault the girl, both on the phone with her, and with me where he states several different times they've supposedly spoken to her doctor, there's nothing wrong with her, and even goes so far as to say "she's just trying to get us to fire her so he can get unemployment", and "I don't have time for a handicap then." And instructs me to make her sit in cameras view in the lobby and no one speak to her or we risk our jobs. This is only a few of several inccidents.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Legal Expert Justin replied 2 months ago.

Hello! My name is ***** ***** I'll be the Expert assisting you today. If you were transferred because you complained about how much you got paid, there likely isn't much you can do about it. However, if you are not getting your legally mandated break and meal periods, you should definitely file a complaint with the state: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/HowToFileWageClaim.htm.

If your coworker is being discriminated against, she should file a complaint as well: https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/complaint-process/

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I believe I'm being transferred for a number of reasons, however my complaint was not simply about how much I got paid, it was about the lack of available information regarding the system they set up, that designates your rate based off of your years of service with the company, and the yearly anniversary of your last promotion date, being denied a yearly review, which does not necessarily entail a raise, but more importantly the actual review, and their refusal to attempt to even explain these changes when inconsistencies are noted. We were told we would recieve wage adjustment notices and that any additional help we needed or questions we had could be directed towards the area manager for help but none of those were made available until several complaints and months later. This system dictates my livelihood but the people who rolled it out claim to have no understanding of it when you ask for information and have told me in writing they don't know how it works, in order to refer me to HR, who only refer me back to the managers staying they had a meeting on the subject and are supposed to relay that information to us, as they don't have the full details either. The transfer, according to the conversation i had with my AM is not regarding my complaint but rather to make commutes fair for other employees of the company who volunteered to drive to those further locations and offer coverage where they were shorthanded for a couple of months in order to hasten their promotions to assistant managers, and now that the batch is done he's moving them around. This is despite the concern supposedly being for their long drive, whereas my commute can reach almost 2 hours each direction by 3 or more busses and trains.As for my friend she is already in the process. I only mentioned her as it is a part of the reason I believe they're trying to make my work situation unbearable to the point of quitting, because in her initial contact with HR regarding his verbal attacks he claimed he did nothing of the sort, and it was her being aggressive, and she let them know I was with her during the incident and could hear both sides of the conversation, as could she before when he was speaking to me about her, and that as her manager at the time I would be willing to write a statement about what the female manager said to me, what the area said to me, and what I heard considering the incident also took place in front of cameras that captured it as well. I believe all of these things are factors in the reason why they're now trying to transfer me to a location where they know it would be hostile considering the previous manager, his friend, who knows I openly disagreed about the fairness of him keeping his job after approving and assisting in an unauthorized brake job that another, lesser employee got fired for, despite them doing the job together, now manages at that location as well.
Expert:  Legal Expert Justin replied 2 months ago.

It would only be illegal for an employer to punish you if they were doing if for a very few reasons (racial, age, disability discrimination, etc.). If they punish you because you are complaining about their policies, there isn't much you will be able to do about it.

However, if you were assisting your friend in challenging disability discrimination, you could also be protected under the American's with Disabilities Act. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against some one who aids someone else in avoiding discrimination.