Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about demotion and pay cut:
Demotion and loss of $5,000 a year! Our school is being restructured and my head wants me to do the same job for less–all this after 18 years of good service!. She acknowledges that I am good at my job, but has singled me out for this demotion and loss of pay. There is some history of antagonism in the past. My union is slow to offer advice. Others have been given preferential treatment and have been promoted to posts that haven’t been advertised. This makes it hard for me to work and feel any sense of worth.
More facts are probably needed to best advise you relative to this problem. However, I do have a few observations that may be helpful if you are a member of a multi-person department and you are the only member to receive a salary cut, then you may have a clear case of discrimination/hostile work environment here. To best determine the validity of this claim you might ask the attorney for your union to investigate.
Other avenues for this determination might also be the closest office of the ACLU, your local federally funded labor department, or the federal office of equal economic opportunity. On the other hand, if you are the sole member of your department, you probably have little legal standing to get the decision reversed. But, the same agencies can advise you relative this aspect also.You might seek out the grievance procedures outlined in your local system policy/ procedures manual and proceed with a grievance. Before doing so, you probably need to express your discomfort to your immediate supervisor and ask for the exact reasons for this action in writing. Be sure to submit this request professionally stated and edited for correctness.
Keep in mind that your purpose in submitting it is not to vent your frustration but to secure a documented reason for the action. This reply could probably stand legally in the event that you seek relief in a court of law. I am not in a position to pass legal judgment on all issues, but the previously mentioned agencies should be able to do so. Also, you might wish to consult a competent attorney about this matter. Most in the legal profession will grant you a short advisory session free of charges.You state that “she acknowledges that I am good at my job.” You further state that you have provided 18 years of good service. Are these sentiments validated by formal written evaluations? If so, cite these in your written request for clarification. Consider attaching copies for the supervisor’s perusal.In the meantime, document the preferential treatment you feel has been displayed.
Do the same for the unposted promotions to which you refer. Do so with deliberate thinking not in a hurried one-shot attempt. Share this list in the conferences with the agencies cited above.If you indeed feel a sense of negative worth and find it hard to work under such conditions, it might be time to move on to another district. Consider telling your supervisor that you are contemplating seeking other employment and ask for a written recommendation that could be presented to a prospective employer. Then include this letter as part of your application portfolio. This letter of recommendation could serve three purposes. First, it could be used as stated. In addition, it could be used to strengthen your case for discrimination/hostile work environment.
Lastly, it will convey to you just how valuable you are to this person as an employee. In the event that you cannot secure such a recommendation consider this a strong indicator that you need to leave your current position. You would of course need this document in hand before asking for written reasons for your demotion.Good luck in your attempt to rectify this situation. If you wish to elaborate the circumstances in more detail, I will be happy to attempt to expand my advice.
Barry Hester, Guest Respondent, former Teacher and School Administrator
The Workplace Doctors Although it may be difficult, focus on the mission of your discipline–helping children–and being professional in spite of disappointment. Ego finds it richest expression in WEGO.