Pregnancy Leave Layoff

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about maternity discrimination:

My whole department is getting laid off. Most of my colleagues last day is on December and are getting a bonus for staying until then. Two of them are getting laid off in October with no bonus, including myself. I’m going on maternity on July. When I asked why I was getting laid off earlier with the colleagues that are newer to the company (unlike me), my boss told me that since I was going on maternity leave, they will already have a replacement for me. Is this discriminatory, to deny me the opportunity for two months of pay and a bonus I would have had otherwise? Or can they lay me off at will?

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falsely accused of sexual harassment

Question:

As mentioned in my previous threads, I was accused of sexual harassment by a former friend. I was cleared, she was terminated, and I’m now moving to a different department (promotion) My company received a complaint from a government agency and now she’s adding that I hit her. My company gave me a copy of the complaint and advised me that they would take care of it. I’ve been quiet about all this but I am genuinely worried where this is all going. This employee was my best friend and when she was up for termination, I was so shocked that she made all this accusations. I want to move to a different company and put this all behind me but I feel like betraying the company after retaining me despite strict policies on sexual harassment. No affair ever occured between me and this employee, we were both supervisors but I always ended up doing her work and she had a long list of violations to company policies. Now she’s filed a formal complaint and has added new allegations, apparently, now she’s adding physical harassment to the list. What should I do snd how far can she take this? This person used to boasts that her mom received thousands just by filing lawsuits with different establishments so this is like telling me that she just wants money, it’s just sad that she’s so ruthless that it doesn’t matter who she steps on.

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hostile work enviroment

Question:

Did every thing in the chain of command. She is still there and still acting as Hitler. I don’t think a phycopath can change.

Signed,

Frustrated

Answer:

Dear Frustrated:

Your statement appears to be a follow up on a question but I don’t have a way to know which question it was. If you can give me a general idea of what it was about I’ll find it in our archives and respond to you. Thanks!

Tina Lewis Rowe

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JOB APPLICATION

Question:

Not Clearly seeing the statement regarding “EMPLOYEES AT WILL” on a job application, is it legal?

Signed,

Wondering

Answer:

Dear Wondering:

I’m not clear what your question is, but I think you want to know if employers have to have an “At Will” statement clearly visible on employment papers.

We’re a workplace communication site and not an HR or legal site, so I’m not able to help with that aspect of it. Whether you are the employer or the employee, you could maybe contact the department of labor in your state or check their website and find out the law about At Will employment in your specific state.

I did some cursory research and could not find a requirement for how clear such notification has to be or if there has to be a notification at all.

I’m sorry I can’t assist you but someone in your own state would be your best resource.

Best wishes.

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8 years of on the job harassment

Question:

I moved to another state 8 years ago,and for eight 8yrs. I have had tremendous harassment. For seven and a half years it has been outside the job as well. Every place I go people flash bright lights at me, day and night. I live 45 min. away from my job in the country, where it also happens. I have used a digital camera to record. It didn’t stop them from doing it, they got bolder with it. Even the police have did it. I know only my coworkers and do not visit them. I have had no arguments with anyone. I work as a state employee and even the secuity (they are law enforcement agents legally). I went to the local fbi and they said go to the police or report it on my job. What can I do? When I have seen all that could stop it participate in it. It is more to it. The stalking, harassment and invasion of privacy started and continues on my job.

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Government Supervisor Contracts Work I Could Do

Question:

I work for a tax-payer-funded public office headed by an elected official. My supervisor insists on contracting out some of our work which I have requested to do and with which I have some expertise. I have the time and ability to do this work without taxing anybody else in my work group.

My supervisor’s supervisor knows I wish to do the work, but allows my supervisor to make the call about contracting it out. My supervisor is rumored to have had a past affair with the woman to whom he gives the work (source: her ex-husband). They do have a social relationship of some kind (have lunch together). On January 3, a newly elected official will head my office. I have been encouraged by co-workers to talk to the new head and his first assistant about this and other issues regarding my supervisor. But, I know I would be in trouble with both my supervisor and his supervisor if I did. Any advice? ************************************* Please keep this confidential. I was impressed with your thoughtful and detailed answer, and it spurred me to action which I think will be helpful to our office. I went to a trusted friend who is a level above me in a different department. She in turn approached my supervisor’s supervisor–a department head–to set up a meeting with me and the department head. My friend (whom the department head supervises and trusts) agreed to go along. My friend also met with me 2 or 3 times to review what I proposed to say at the meeting, and she gave me advice very much like the advice I see on your website (“stick to the facts and your own experience”). In a 2-hour meeting at a coffee shop, I explained all of the issues with the supervisor. I used a format I’ve seen you suggest in another “Ask A Question.” Every point I made had two parts: 1) “here are the facts that I know;” 2) “here is why it is harmful to our office.” It worked. The department head listened carefully, learned some things he didn’t know, and said the information altered his perspective.

Since I didn’t know any facts about the alleged relationship, I didn’t mention it at all. In fact, the issue of contracting out work was only a small part of the conversation, which centered on other problems in my supervisor’s work performance. Sticking to the known facts established the credibility of the information and–I believe–is what reached the department head deeply enough to alter his perspective. This was not an easy thing to take on. My supervisor aligns himself closely with the department head, the head’s boss, and the head’s boss’s boss–who is the elected official. My supervisor also worked on the campaign of the new elected official–but only after it became clear the new guy was the front-runner. My supervisor displays his connections with top management to his subordinates and the rest of the office. As a result, it did not appear there was anywhere to go with information about how his job performance was hurting the office. But I found out the department head was much more open-minded than I had assumed. In addition, on a different channel, others who have the ear of the new elected official have approached him with concerns about my supervisor. (I think of this other channel as “the cabal”–because they are motivated by revenge, settling past scores, and power through intrigue). “The cabal” has mentioned my name to the new elected as a source of factual information. (“The cabal” mentioned me because, to my regret, I have complained about my supervisor to members of “the cabal”–thereby not following the advice you have given in other “Ask A Question” columns).

As a result of urging from “the cabal,” the new elected has asked me to meet with him and his first assistant. But, the department head knew nothing of “the cabal” or the new elected’s request to meet with me. So, when I met with the department head, I brought him into the loop. Now he won’t be blind-sided–in fact, he’s better-informed than “the cabal”.

In addition, he can suggest a solution, which he is well-equipped to do.

If you’re interested, I will let you know what ultimately comes of this. I ask you to keep this confidential because I have proclaimed the value of your website to others in my office, and it has been suggested that we put your site up in our office intranet. I’d hate to have people know what went on behind the scenes in this situation. Thanks so much for all your help.

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Can Employees Say What’s On Their Minds?

Question:

Could we really say to our bosses what is on our minds?

Signed,

Hesitant

Answer:

Dear Hesitant:

I doubt if any of us are always able to say exactly what is on our minds about work or anything else! We probably wouldn’t like everyone saying what is on their minds about us!

What Dr. Gorden and I emphasize is that employees should make the effort to honestly express appropriate thoughts in appropriate ways. You can be open and honest, but you will probably also need to censor a bit, be sensitive and use some good judgment about honesty compared to brutal honesty.

Dr. Gorden refers to WEGO, which is the concept of working together with head, hands and hearts to achieve success for the group and for individuals. That kind of team spirit means we need to communicate openly and helpfully, but we always need to use good judgment about the position of the person to whom we are talking, among other realities.

Work with others in your group and with your bosses too, to build the best possible workplace…starting with you.

Best wishes to you!

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Not paid for travel

Question:

Coworkers went to training – drive to airport and fly, school, fly home, car home. They were paid for all of the travel time (even time after 4pm our ‘normal work hours’). I went to training shortly after. I drove to airport, flew to school – spent the week (classes 8-4:30pm M-F) went directly from class to airport as per scheduled by work, flight delayed til 10pm got to home airport about midnight. I put all day of school plus all time at airport and flying time 8am til midnight like other guys did). Boss took off time off time card after 4pm *normal work day end…. Am I being ‘overly sensitive’ or is this a legitimate issue to be angry about (I am only female tech – tired of being treated differently than my co-workers). Boss also would take off ‘call pay’ that I would charge, but coworkers would charge for same and get paid. Also, payroll would mess up my military pay where male coworkers didn’t experience any problems. largest hospital in state….

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ear Phones on radios

Question:

Can OSHA check the noise level on a radio that the employee has connected to a ear phone to see if it is too loud?

Signed,

Wondering

Answer:

Dear Wondering:

I’m sorry but we don’t have expertise in regulatory issues such as this. You can perhaps check with your state’s occupational safety and health section (state website) or OSHA’s website or a local office if you live in a large city.

Clarify with them whether you are asking about using a commercial radio to listen to radio music and talk shows or a two way radio that is required for the business. OSHA would only become involved if the business is large enough to come under their guidelines and if the radio is required equipment that seems likely to impair hearing.

Best wishes as you research this matter.

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