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Terrible workplace dilema....

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Shockleader posted 1/24/2014 09:35 AM

I have had my new job for about 8 months, and my boss/the business owner is part of a family I have known for many, many years. I took the job when I moved out of my home prior to D, and it barely pays above min wage.

I have only been late once, never missed a day, have never once clocked out for lunch, or taken off early, take every crappy schedule I get w/o complaint, and even when I was very sick with a severe MRSA infection, I never missed because I did not want to have others pick up my slack. I am good at what I do, and ALWAYS represent the business in a good light, very good with customers and the other workers. My dilemma:

My boss loves to use the word n***er for black people which makes me very uncomfortable, calls the president a "coon in the white house", told me once "have a chink work on that Jap car", and even likes to jab me about my religion in a very overt, hurtful way in front of people. He also drinks a lot (1/2 gal of whiskey every few days; I know because part of my job is to run to the liquor store), is drunk at work many evenings and very obviously an alcoholic. Of course his mouth and incredibly mean attitude come out very strongly then, and a few days ago he was really over the top. I was doing some work where he was present, and one person asked me my opinion on something about ethics, I gave it, and the boss came right out and said in a very mean tone how "fucked up" my beliefs are...

That was it for me, and how I deal with a situation like this is I continue to do my job very well, but will not engage him in any other way. So last night he asks me if I want some food that was around, I politely said "no thank you", and he yells:

"Well fuck you then".

Later he comes out and says I have two days to change my attitude or else. I ask what am I doing wrong with my job, and he will say nothing other than I am being "stand offish". Again I ask what am I doing wrong in my job that would warrant me being fired, and he comes unglued saying "don't give me that fucking psych crap, I'm not falling for it". I just walked away continuing as if nothing happened, and it really pissed him off... Yeah, I really want to be friendly and engaging to a racist, homophobic, drunk who tells his workers to fuck off!

My dilemma is I'm being fired for nothing I did wrong, how this will impact my job search when asked about my last job and why I left/was fired, and unemployment benefits? Advice in these matters is greatly appreciated. I'll try later to post a note he left myself and coworkers for missing a little trash left on a vehicle we cleaned... It's signed with:

"Fuck you".

Jesus, this sucks, and I go to work in an hour. Thank you everyone!

metamorphisis posted 1/24/2014 09:41 AM

Hopefully someone else can come along and help you with the labor laws and legalities of your situation because I am clueless. All I can think to say is ""
What a pathetic human being you have to work for .
If it's barely above minimum wage my gut says ANYTHING else would be preferable at this point.

Undefinabl3 posted 1/24/2014 09:44 AM

This is harassment and is called Hostile Work Environment. The problem is that everyone is family so chances are you will get no where by filing harassment charges.

Your best course is to play the game until you get another job. And while you 'change your attitude' you start recording shit left and right. At the same time - look for another job. Temp if you have to. Just get out as soon as you can.

Use your phone's record option, get a little recorder you can click on.

I am so sorry that this has happened. I can't believe this day in age that people still hold such hate and feel it is ok to spew it out on other people.

Gottagetthrough posted 1/24/2014 10:09 AM

please record his abuse with a some type of voice recorder. UGH. this is so over the line, he has created a hostile work environment, abused you...

Is he the only head of the company, or is there another person who you could talk to

if you are fired I *think* unemployment is not affected (in fact, I think if you leave voluntarily, that is when you can't get it... but I have 0 experience with that, so please don't take my word on that)

Have you looked for other jobs, or is there anything in your area that you can apply to.... is going back to school an option (I am thinking that if you do get fired, you go back to school and that explains your time off...)

So, so sorry. You should NOT have to deal with such a hateful horrible man.

Williesmom posted 1/24/2014 10:11 AM

Save the post it note. You can take it to your unemployment hearing as evidence.

Jeaniegirl posted 1/24/2014 10:31 AM

I am quite sure the unemployment security commission would LOVE hearing his remarks and how he treats his employees. Keep a VAR constantly with you. I would hang around long enough to get a few hours of his rants on tape but that would be difficult for me because I live under the premise of "being silent is to assume you agree." Afraid I couldn't be silent with this jerk.

Good for you for keeping your cool. If it were me working there, I would have already called out the local television stations to out him.

But then I'm just that way.

Shockleader posted 1/24/2014 10:32 AM

AnnieOakley posted 1/24/2014 10:56 AM

18+ years as a Dir of HR.

Yes, very much a hostile work environment. It sounds like it is likely a small company and as boss/business is his way or the highway.

Depending on your state, it is highly likely that it is illegal to record someone without their consent. Not saying that I would not do it, just that it may not help you from a legal aspect.

I would be searching for a job now and get out as soon as possible. Again, from a right to work standpoint you can be fired for any/no reason at any point. With/without warning or documentation.

But, I would document everything that you can to present as your reason for leaving a hostile work environment...when you file for unemployment.

It would appear to me that due to his alcoholism that he does not pay much attention to his business at hand. His behaviors are completely unacceptable in a 'normal, professional' work environment. He would probably (??) not even know how to dispute an unemployment claim.

Of course if you had the resources you could eventually sue him for the hostile environment, stress related illness, etc. etc. You would need to make the decision if it is worth it.

Again, I would get out of there as soon as you possibly can.

This stuff just boils my blood.

Oh, and with regards to your job search.

"I could no longer work in a hostile work environment. The day to day conditions were overwhelming and I just felt it best that I leave".

No need to go into specifics, unless they push for more details. Be professional. If you need to, state that the owner consumed alcohol on a daily basis while working, used profanity that was directed at the employees, and made racist comments that you were very uncomfortable with. There is a fine line between stating why you left and 'badmouthing' a former employer.

[This message edited by AnnieOakley at 11:09 AM, January 24th (Friday)]

Undefinabl3 posted 1/24/2014 11:17 AM

He wrote that to you?!?!?!

You need to get a lawyer that deals with this kind of thing.

I would record everything, hell, hold the damn phone up for him. It would be BETTER if he fired you. (just make sure you have enough evidence.

In fact, you need to get a thumb drive and get proof of your work, that you did it, get anything GOOD that they may have sent to you.

Start forwarding your emails to a personal email address so that you can send proof of good work and harassment to the unemployment office when they try to deny your unemployment.

if you are fired I *think* unemployment is not affected (in fact, I think if you leave voluntarily, that is when you can't get it... but I have 0 experience with that, so please don't take my word on that)

This is true. If you quit you can not claim.

My mother had to endure a good amount of harassment from a younger boss. They eventually 'let her go' and my mom got a lawyer and sued them for harrassment and discrimination.

The Unemployment office actually set her up with a laywer, but i am not sure if every state does that.

Newlease posted 1/24/2014 13:41 PM

It depends upon the laws in your state. My XWH quit a job and was successful in claiming a hostile work environment and got to draw unemployment. However, if you make such a small amount, your unemployment will not be much - maybe not enough to survive on.

I live in a "right to work" state which really means a right to fire anyone for anything at any time, or for no reason at all.

If I were you, I would start looking for a new job immediately. If you are questioned about your last employment and reason for leaving, you have been given great advice by AnnieOakley.

Sending strength and peace and lots of new job MOJO!


sad12008 posted 1/24/2014 16:34 PM

I have to disagree about the conversation recording; due to something going on w/the VA, I've had occasion recently to have a great interest in such things. Most states actually have what's called a "one-party consent" rule; so long as you are a party to the conversation, you are covered. As far as court admissibility and such, that's above my pay grade. However, for the purposes of documentation, it's worth it.

Here's the reference everyone seems to point to:

Sorry about your boss. It s*cks to be forced to interact with racist, bigoted, bullying Neanderthals.

Undefinabl3 posted 1/27/2014 10:42 AM

I live in a "right to work" state which really means a right to fire anyone for anything at any time, or for no reason at all.

Yeah, Indiana has this too, but it does not negate discrimination.

If the fired party can prove that it was anything but their work performance or company cutback that got them let go, then it could go to court.

tushnurse posted 1/27/2014 13:04 PM

Honestly it is my understanding that in most situations an employer can fire their employees for any reason they deem reasonable. That being said, if your employer wants you gone, they will make you gone, either by harassing you into quitting or by firing you for some other issue. I have seen it happen many times.

That being said, you do realize that even if you do report him, for having a hostile work environment, and that he is highly inappropriate it most likely won't go anywhere or change anything. Racist, narrow minded, narcissistic, alcoholics aren't going to change.

Your best bet would be to go find another job, and quickly as possible. Take the high road, and get out of there as quickly as possible. He will eventually run his company into the ground, or only have like minded imbicles working for him.
Hell any job anywhere else would be better than that.

Good luck.

sunandmoon posted 1/28/2014 09:03 AM

What Annie said ( I am also a 15+ year HR professional).

So sorry.


sadone29 posted 1/28/2014 09:24 AM

I know how difficult it is to find a new job. It's stressful and awful. But I would try to get out of there, for your own sanity. That guy is abusive.

Sorry you have to endure this on a daily basis.

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