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hostile environment (MA)

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  • hostile environment (MA)

    I am not sure what to do here. I have been working at a small bank for over 5 years. I have been here 2 years longer than everyone else. Never had a bad review. Received a salary increase each year and year end bonuses. In December I was promoted to be an officer of the bank.

    Also in December the bank president announced he was leaving in February. He allowed me to work from home 2 days a week because I live so far from work. It's worked out well and lasted for nearly 4 years without problems.

    Worried about the hours changing and a new president wanting to replace us all with his buddies, I spoke to my boss--the VP--and a high ranking board member who both assured me that my job was secure and my hours would not change.

    In March a new president was hired who immediately brought his tag-a-long employee who has followed him from bank to bank. she was brought in as a VP but basically shoved me out of my position taking away my responsibilites and changing my hours. Even though the bank closes at 4 they wanted me to stay until 5. When I told them I would not be able to do that since I live over an hour away and the daycare closes at 6, they gave me a hard time about how they were fixed on time.

    THe next day they asked me if I thought about it at which time I told them it was not physically possible to drive over 50 miles in rush hour in an hour and make it there before they close. I also reminded them that the board member told me not to worry about my hours changing. IN fact the day the new president started, he stated the same thing to me.

    So we agreed to 4:30. Since March they have been stripping me of responsibilities while not even discussing it with me. I have asked for a review which was due in February and ignored.

    I went on vacation and came back to having my security settings changed. I got them back only when they realized they would have to get up to do the overrides and come to my desk for each transactions I had to do.

    Today I found out that I am not overseeing the department anymore. There has been no reason presented other than the fact that this new girl--less experience and no college degree--was going to do it.

    I am walking on egg shells there. I know they are doing this to drive me out since they are paying her more and they want to hire someone else for less money to do my job. If I quit I don't get unemployment and if I stay I leave there in near tears everyday.

    Do I have any recourse? Can I quit and collect if my employer is making the work place so hostile? i even found an email my boss left on my desk from the president stating "she (meaning me) contacted the customer after I told her not to...please put this in the file". What my boss was probably instructed to do was to put in my personel file not the customers but she is so daft she put it on my desk for the customer file. it wasn't even true. he never asked me not to contact a customer--it is my job and typically expected of me. I work in lending and the market is very slow for hiring. I don't know how long i can take this negative treatment.

    please advise

  • #2
    The standard in MA for collecting unemployment insurance is that the employee is unemployed through no fault of her own.

    This means that an employee can quit for "good cause" and remain eleigible for benefits. But, if an employee is fired for deliberate misconduct then that will disqualify her. The determination is made by a DUA representative, and can be appealed by the employee or employer within 10 days of the representative's determination.

    Each case is very fact specific on whether there was cause for quitting, deliberate misconduct or some other event.

    The DET website is a helpful place to begin. Here's a link to the worker's section:

    Good luck, Phil
    This post is by Philip Gordon, a Massachusetts employment attorney (

    This post is NOT legal advice. It is for general/educational information purposes only. You should not rely on this post if you are making decisions, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post may be considered "advertising" under the MA professional rules for attorneys.


    • #3
      My bosses (the VP and President) told us that they did not want us discussing issues with anyone else in the bank. Since i have tried to address them directly and have gotten no results, I spoke to the other VP who also acts as our HR person.

      THe president called the HR person and asked her if she she got a call from me. She said yes, but it because she considered me HR. He told her to tell her if i contacted her again.

      Is this legal? Don't I have the ability to speak to the person in charge of our HR confidentially?


      • #4
        No, you don't. HR employees are not solely "employee advocates". They are also charged with protecting the company. If the HR rep, or someone who acts in that capacity, thinks the owner should know something that you are telling him/her, it is incumbent upon them to tell him.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


        • #5
          But I do have the right to speak with her if I am having problems even though my boss said he didn't want us talking to other departments about our issues. I would assume HR would be exempt from that even if she tell her I spoke to her.


          • #6
            You have the right to speak with whomever you want. What I'm saying is that, as a member of management, that person also has the right, and in some cases, the responsibility, to inform the owner if there is something they think the owner should know.
            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


            • #7
              Thanks. Seems like I'm just stuck. According to unemployment when I called them they said that they could not guarantee benefits. I am just going to keep looking and hope they lay me off.