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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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I work for a construction company as a senior estimator and

Resolved Question:

I work for a construction company as a senior estimator and our operations manager is a alpha male that has the owners ear that has recently purchased the company and he is new to our industry. The ops manager is constantly bringing every ones inefficiencies, per his percetion, to the new owners attention.

The ops manager recently confronted one of my direct reports about my perfomance. He asked him what was going on with me and told him that he thinks I am looking for another job. He has some employees that work for him that I am confident were told the same thing but this a assumption.

My mother has beend diagnosed with terminal ephysema and the ops manager knew of this and he told my direct report that this is effecting my performance.

My direct repoert immediatley came to me and told me of the conversation and I then sent an E-mail to the owner to sit down and talk with him. The owner was very concerned about it and told me that he was not aware of this and had no problem with my performance.

My question is how do I stand legally because this needs to stop because of the owners confidence with the ops manager I think my position is in constant jeopardy.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  TexLaw replied 5 years ago.
Unless you have an employment contract, then you are an at-will employee and can be terminated for any reason whatsoever. The fact that the op manager is "gunning" for you is very worrisome. However, the issue that comes out is that this may be a violation of the Family Medical Leave Act. How many people are employed by your employer?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
We employee around 200. Is there any slander issues here from the ops manager towards me? The company had us sign an agreement that talked about our salary and a confidtentialy issue. Colorado is an at will state so I do not know if that agreement has any bearing.
Expert:  TexLaw replied 5 years ago.
From what you are telling me, the things that the operations manager is saying are more like opinion, which do not rise to the level of defamation (slander).

Since your employer employs 200 people, the Family Medical Leave Act provides that you can have time off to take care of a sick relative like your mother and not lose your job (although it is unpaid leave). The reason I bring this in, is that if you ever get accused of not performing because the operations manager thinks that you are preoccupied with your mother's illness you need to simply bring it up that FMLA applies to this situation and assert that your job is protected.

As far as him going around and talking about you, you really don't have any legal right to stop him unless he is accusing you of false facts which a reasonable person would find to be harmful to your reputation. Him saying he doesn't think you are doing a good job or saying that he thinks you are preoccupied do not qualify.

In regard to the agreement that you had to sign which spoke about your salary, you need to review it carefully and see if it has any sort of language on how you can be terminated and whether there is a requirement for there to be good cause for termination.

Please let me know if you need further information.

Best Regards,
Zachary D. Norris
TexLaw and other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The remarks he made a normal person would see them as inaccurate. A matter of fact I have had a number of employees come to me and express their concerns about his actions towards them and are frustrated about what he said about me. Two of them appraoched me last year and there was nothing I could do so they both quit and they reported directly to him. I currentl, constanty have employees coming in my office and viewing their concerns about his actions and how it effects them and the company as well. It is hard for me to belive that an employee is not protected against issue such as this. To think our only option is to seek other employement is sad.y
Expert:  TexLaw replied 5 years ago.
There is a distinction I would like to draw for you. Defamation requires the person to be saying something that is highly offensive. Even though what the man is saying may be false, it does not rise to the level of defamatory. Now, if you find that you are later terminated because of this man's false statements, you could sue him for tortious interference with a contract, if you can prove that it was in fact his false statements for which you were fired. At that point, because you then have damages and may find what he said to be "highly offensive" given the context, a suit for defamation may also be possible. However, at this point, your best bet is to find some other way to pressure him to stop making the false statements. Either way, you should definitely start recording them when you hear about them so that you can bring it up to the boss if necessary.

Best of luck,
Zachary D. Norris
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the response. I have talked with the onwer and because he is new to the industry, he is naive to what is happening. I will document everything and would like some advice on what to look for,