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Alexia Esq.
Alexia Esq., Managing Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  19 Years of Legal Practice Experience in this precise field.
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This morning my boss called my on my cell phone ...

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This morning my boss called my on my cell phone (it''s my day off) to discuss an issue with equipment in my office. He didn''t agree with the decision I had made to handle the situation, and proceeded to raise his voice, intimidate me, before hanging up on me. When I called him back and expressed my concern with his behavior, he hung up again. I feel this behavior should be reported, but I''m not really sure if he did anything wrong. Or if he will retaliate.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Alexia Esq. replied 9 years ago.


Thank you for your question and I look forward to assisting you. Please keep in mind that I can only respond to your post and the information contained in it, as I do not know what you know unless you describe it fully. Also, oftentimes there are future facts that are as yet undetermined in your matter, that can and must leave some areas of information provided by me broad in nature. However, don't hesitate to ask for clarification if needed! At times, there can also be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be helping other customers or taking a break. That being said...

Ah, such a dilemma, the difficult boss. Legally, there is nothing near a clear answer here as there is significant 'leeway' in how bosses can interact with subordinates. And since his hostility does not appear to involve a sexual nature, it does not necessarily implicate the law on 'hostile work environment' under the law. Also consider if this his his typical behavior or fluke: If a fluke, you may just want to chalk it up to him having a bad day, otherwise, it is an ongoing problem.

However, despite the lack of clear legal ramifications (if any) that is not to say that within your company, there may not be policies covering this behavior (the raising of the voice, does it amount to yelling/screaming, etc.). I have to say it is refreshing to see someone have the nerve, in a respectful manner, to address a boss when he treats us in a way that is inappropriate and which we will not stand for, boss or no boss. (Clearly your boss has emotional issues/mental illness, be it anger management problems, bipolar disorder, what have you.)

The question now is, what are you unwilling, personally and professionally, to let slide (what will you tolerate from him) vs. what are you willing to do, and risk, to stand up for yourself. For instance, I would not hesitate to go to human resources and report the boss' behavior - his losing his cool, his irrationality, his abuse and his creation of an uncomfortable and hostile work environment. It is possible that this boss has been complained about before and eventually there will be a 'straw that breaks the [company's] back'. Another question concerns whether the company would keep the report confidential, but of course, if they don't fire him, he will likely know who reported him. He could certainly make your life miserabe and retaliate, either overtly or in aways that would be difficult to prove. And then, you would almost have to keep reporting his transgressions, to outright protect yourself. There is no guarantee that you wouldn't get fired or that he wouldn't get fired - but the alternative is living with this man on a daily work basis, that could literally cause you such stress and anxiety that you would have to leave anyway. And, if you believe he treats you this way (if it is chronic behavior on his part, vs. a fluke) due to any of the ILLEGAL reasons to treat someone different (ie race, religion, gender, age, etc.), you definitely need to look towards establishing that, as that would clearly violate federal anti-descrimination laws.

Good luck with this. The is extremely common, I am sorry to say, given the volume of mentally ill/disordered people out in the work force, who have difficulty composing themselves for 8 hours a day on the job and maintaining control. (And one of the reasons I became determined, years ago, to work for myself.)

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Stephanie Joy

Please note: A times there can be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be helping other customers or taking a break. In addition, if it is late at night, EST, and we are between postings, I may go get some shut eye, but I'll be back, so never fear.

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