Hostile Work Environment Definition
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The Hostile Work Environment That Brought Down Paula Deen

Paulas_Home

Many people do not realize that Paula Deen's troubles do not just stem from her admitting that she used the N-word, but that she admitted using the N-word during a hostile work environment lawsuit filed against her.  Even if you are a huge Paula Deen fan, you probably have more in common with the employee than you have in common with Paula Deen.  Do any of these things sound like something you've experienced at work? You suffer through work days under a supervisor who: Makes sexual comments Utters racist remarks Looks up dirty jokes and pictures on his office computer Promotes only people who remind him of himself, and Threatens anyone who questions him When you or a co-worker finally muster up the courage to say something to your boss’s boss, one of three things … [Read more...]

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New Legal Rights For Employees of Nursing Homes

New Employee Rights for Nursing Home Employees

If you work for a nursing home, convalescent hospital, hospice care facility, or any other health care facility that accepts federal funds, the Health Care Reform bill gives YOU new legal rights, too. If you or any other employee reasonably suspects that a crime (like billing fraud) has taken place at your workplace, then you must report it to at least one law enforcement agency. What happens if you don’t? Up to $200,000 in fines. Evidently nursing home managers have been leery of reporting a resident who has abused or beaten another resident. Mangers don’t want the negative publicity, and don’t want law enforcement getting involved in what he nursing home views as “a medical issue”. So, if you are employed at nursing home you must report any action by a manager or resident that … [Read more...]

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Bully Boss Survivor Marilyn Veincentotzs and the new Undercover H.R. Director (OnYourSide!)

Bully Boss Survivor Marilyn V

> A Survivor's Story: Marilyn Veincentotzs Episode 12 features an interview with Bully Boss survivor turned author Marilyn Veincentotzs.  Marilyn, who also goes by "Dr. Vee", learned from "Work Laws Exposed" how to fight back against a bullying boss.  Then she helped a good friend do the same thing.  Then she took her expertise in organizational psychology and wrote a book, "How Organizations Empower Bully Bosses: A criminal in the workplace." Personal Help With YOUR Work Problems In Episode 12 we also introduce a fantastic new resource for people who need help with responding to a bullying boss: The Undercover HR Person!  That's right, our forum stalwart and HR expert, "OnYourSide", is actually named Mary, and Mary is now available to help you with workplace issues too.  If … [Read more...]

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Do You Know the 4 Key Steps to Taking Back Your Life from a Bully?

Learn to Take Back Your Life

Question: What are the four key steps to taking back your life from a bully? Answer: Listen to our interview with psychotherapist Dr. Ben Leichtling (pronounced Like-Ling).  Dr. Leichtling wrote a book about how to take back your life from a bully, and consults with companies on how to eliminate bullying from the workplace. Dr. Leichtling reveals in this interview his four key steps to breaking free of a bully.  He also gives invaluable advice on how to deal with the mental and physical trauma that bullies inflict.  This is one episode no one should miss. Podcast #11: Interview With Dr. Leichtling Dr. Leichtling was so generous with his time that we couldn't fit all of his helpful insights and ideas into the podcast, but it was simply too good "to leave on the cutting room … [Read more...]

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Can Your Abusive Boss’s Unattainable Goals for You Actually be Discrimination Against You?

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A performance improvement plan (or "PIP") is not discriminatory by itself.  But scores of employees who have bought "Work Laws Exposed" and utilized their free phone consultation with me have described feeling like their boss was trying to "get back at them" by setting astronomically high goals at the employees next appraisal or in a PIP. One female employee told me how she used FMLA leave to take her autistic son to a series of therapy sessions; soon after returning to work her boss placed her on a PIP and assigned her completely unattainable goals that she had to meet "or face termination"; One older male employee told me how he noticed that his boss, a first time supervisor, was driving out all the employees who were also older and more experienced; when the employee told HR that … [Read more...]

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The Whistleblower Wins Money. Big Money.

A male flight crew employee working for "Southern Air Inc", which is a cargo airline, complained twice to managment about safety concerns. First he complained about inadequate rest breaks. Then he complained about being forced to work extra hours, beyond what the FAA allows by law. So what happened next? Southern Air retaliated against the employee, of course! First he received less work. Then the company "discovered" problems with his job performance. Then, in April of 2008, he was terminated. After being terminated the employee filed a complaint with a regional office of OSHA.  OSHA investigated, and found that the employee's complaint had merit.  OSHA issued a prelimiary opinion, ordering Southern Air to pay the terminated employee: "$300,000 for loss of career wages, $135,240 … [Read more...]

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Podcast Episode #7: Your Boss Can Be Liable to You For Creating A Hostile Work Environment Based on Age

Download PDF Transcript In Episode #7, we discuss how your boss can be liable to you for creating a hostile work environment based on age.  The main example we cover is Elizabeth Parks v. Lebhar-Friedman, Inc., 2008 WL 4449345 (SDNY) (Oct. 2, 2008). Parks' worked for her employer, Drug Store News, for 26 years.  Even after that much time with nothing but good reviews, Parks felt like her boss was trying to make life miserable for her and push her out.  Her boss concocted excuses to "write her up" and criticize her work for vague reasons that no one could understand, much less act upon. Parks' boss, however, wasn't planning on Parks pushing back.  To learn how she did it, and how she got some smoking gun evidence against her boss and other executives at her company, just listen to the … [Read more...]

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Can My Employer Do That? Part One By: Jenn S.

Can My Boss Do That

In a busy employment law practice, I field a lot of questions from employees who want to know whether an action taken by their employer was “illegal.” In the vast majority of cases, the action of the employer is not illegal per se, though it may have been grossly unfair, blatantly discriminatory, or in extreme bad taste. However, there are situations where an employer is acting illegally and quick action is necessary. The following are some common and some unusual questions from employees who call wanting to know, “Can my employer do that?” Can my boss tell me to cover my tattoos / cut my hair / take out a piercing? Freedom to express yourself is surely a great right in America.  But, if you want to hold a job you’d best take note of your employer’s appearance standards.  An employer … [Read more...]

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10 Steps of Walking the Plank Toward Termination: Step 2 You Have a New Supervisor

Note: If you missed Step 1 in this series you can read it HERE. If a new supervisor takes over your department, brace yourself.  New supervisors change everything, and employees HATE that. What you need to understand is that it is unthinkable to a new supervisor to not change everything.  A new supervisor feels like they need to PROVE that they were the right person for the job.  How do they prove it?  By making changes. It doesn't matter to your new supervisor that everything was working just fine, thank you very much.  Your new supervisor is going to make changes for change's sake.  Your supervisor believes that their changes prove that they are making their mark, shaking things up, raising the bar, blah blah blah. In your new supervisor's mind, this is now their kingdom, … [Read more...]

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Can Complaining About Job Harassment Save You From Layoffs?

Woman facing job layoff

How many news stories have you seen or read lately that blare dark and stormy stories of our slowing economy, banks going bankrupt, and workers facing wave after wave of mass layoffs? Have you noticed, too, how people act out during stressful times?  Sometimes they act out in stupid ways. A male co-worker acted stupidly toward Jessica Houston, when she was sharing a half-time scheduler position at an Indianapolis hospital.  But the male co-worker wasn't the only bad actor in this case; Jessica's manager got involved too.  There was plenty of stupid to go around. Real Life Case: The male co-worker was 52, and Jessica was 22.  Two times he found her in a break room or lunch room, sat down in her lap, and whispered in her ear "You're beautiful." Houston felt ashamed and … [Read more...]