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Retaliation question Nevada

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  • Retaliation question Nevada

    I have a question about retaliation based in a sexual harassment situation. My situation is unique, I haven't been the direct target but my female boss opted to begin a sexual relationship with my male coworker. During this time, she proceeded to cherry pick leads for him, treat him to 2 hour lunches, they went bed shopping for him on company time, etc. During this time, she started disparaging me to other employees, questioning my honesty, etc. She went so far as to accuse me of "gossiping" about her relationship with him and demanded I be fired. When directly asked by the owner of our very small company, both she and my co-worker denied any relationship outside of a professional one. A couple of weeks later, several e-mails surfaced which proved the existence of the relationship. My reporting relationship was moved directly under the owner of the company. I think I should point out that my boss has been with the company for over 15 years and is close friends with the owner. Her now ex-husband has been treated by the owner's wife (a psychiatrist) and they have catered events at the owner's house.

    My (now) former supervisor continued to disparage me to the owner of the company and opted to escalate an e-mail to the owner of the company. I have opted to keep my mouth shut and do my job. Because of the escalation, he gave (via e-mail) both she and I a final written warning. The warning stated that we had until the end of the month to have a dinner and work out whatever was happening or we were both to be fired. I feel this has everything to do with that personal relationship. The owner claims that he has consulted an attorney and been told that there are no actionable items here. I am afraid to take it to the ERC because I know I will be fired. I was told today that I MUST sign the printed copy of the e-mail whether I liked it or not.

    I really don't want to rock the boat and lose my job but I want to be able to protect myself. I should also mention that I have never, ever had a corrective action in the almost 5 years I have been here.

  • #2
    Signing the e-mail does not mean you agree with the contents. It means you have been advised of management's view on the matter.

    I tend to agree that there is really no legal action to be taken, under the circumstances you have described. It is the right of the owner to demand that the two of you resolve your differences, and to fire you if you do not.

    If you were still working under the same supervisor, it just so happens that there is case law specific to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (which includes Nevada) regarding other employees being given preferential treatment due to their personal relationship with the boss. But it seems that now, the threat of termination is based on your inability to get along with the other supervisor, with whom you are no longer in a reporting relationship. (I understand that the difficulty is on her side and not yours.) I can't remember the name of the case off hand. You might want to discuss this with a local attorney to see if he can make it stick, but I'd suggest that even if you do, you sign the e-mail and arrange that dinner.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      I should note that I have absolutely no problem resolving the issue. The other point I forgot to mention is that the owner has decided that he is going to move me back to reporting to her. I still fear for retaliation and have been unsuccessful locating a Reno attorney to speak with. Any suggestions?

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      • #4
        Sexual harrassment has very clearly designed steps that must be taken if you wish to make such a claim. The first step is telling the fellow employees of the discomfort that it causes you. Once that is done, if it continues you need to approach your employer, in this case the owner. If the owner doesn't do anything to make it stop, that is when the place of business can get themselves into hot water.
        Not everything in America is actionable in a court of law. Please remember that attorneys are in business for profit, and they get paid regardless of whether or not you win or lose.

        I offer my knowledge and experience at no charge, I admit that I am NOT infallible, I am wrong sometimes, hopefully another responder will correct me if that is the case with the answer above, regardless, it is your responsibility to verify any and all information provided.

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