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Help! Possibly fired- Sexual Harrasment, tax concerns, employee rights? Arizona

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  • Help! Possibly fired- Sexual Harrasment, tax concerns, employee rights? Arizona

    I think I may be fired. I was in a verbal altercation w/ my boss today over his business practices. I discovered he was falsely representing himself to soem of our vendors as an "Joe Schmo" Esquire when his legal name is completely different. He has repeatedly downloaded porographic materials onto a computer I use while I am at work. I have asked him not to. I was hired to work in his office scheduling, filing, paying vendors, answering incoming calls, and inputing orders in the system. He has also expanded my duties to calling Playboy to let them know he paid for his subscription w/ a credit card so his order wouldn't be canceled. He has also taken to ask me to do domestic chores or handle his personal affairs. He has also made me leave the office early so he could have an escort come over, I know he had them calling on the office phones which I answer. While on a business trip in DC his Rolex was stolen by a hooker at the Westin and he asked me to look online on escort sites to look for any woman matching the description he gave me. I refused and he had a male employee from DC do it instead. Does this qualify as sexual harrasment? Also he has never made me fill out any tax information. 1099s, W-2s anything. He has been writing me checks from the company account without any withholdings. I do not get lunches or breaks either. He told me previously I could have several days off including tommorrow to take my son to the doctor and because I do not have childcare on a school holiday, but now insists that if I dont come to work that I am fired. What are my options?

  • #2
    You raised a lot of issues. Some I can address. Perhaps other responders can cover what I miss.
    - Legally all workers are either employees or independant contractors. It is extremely unlikely that you are legally an independant contractor, but your "employer" is not treating you like a employee. This is not legally the employers decision, and it is very likely that the government will be inclined to treat you as an employee.
    - Do not quit. If you get fired, file for unemployment insurance. You will need to prove that payments were made to you. He will claim that you are not an employee, but legally that dog will not hunt.
    - Are you being paid minimum wage and overtime? If not, file a wage claim with your state's DOL ASAP. You potentially have legal protections against being terminated after you actually file a wage claim. This is one other method to make the government review your worker classification status.
    - Someone else will have to address possible sexual harrasement issues - not my area of expertise. My understanding however is that if a formal claim with the government on this has been filed, that also tends to create recourse if a termination occurs.
    - Employers normally have a good deal of legal lattitude to in terminating employees. The general rule is something called Employment-At-Will, which mostly means that absent a contract or CBA, either party can terminate the employment relationship without recourse. A wage claim or sexual harrasemnt claim actually filed prior to termination can act as a partial impediment to a termination.
    - If you are not terminated, start looking for another job with a different employer. At the end of the day, bad employers are bad employers. Talking to the company's HR department might help, but off of what you said, they do not have a clue who you are, and the fact that a line supervisor/manager has direct access to an apparently unaudited cash account says bad things about how this company is run. And the company can legally terminate you for talking to the HR department. Filing claims with the government may offer some legal protection against termination but talking to the company does not (makes no sense, but that is what the law says).
    Last edited by DAW; 10-01-2007, 10:10 PM.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      Have you reported any of this to HR or to his manager?
      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.

      Comment


      • #4
        It isn't that filing a DOL claim or EEO claim bars the employer from terminating an employee. It simply can not be the reason that the employee is terminated. Any claim filed around the same time you were terminated for an altercation with the boss is going to be viewed skeptically at best. Fighting with your boss is an excellent reason to fire someone and would be perfectly legal no matter what claims you may file. You don't get to fight with the boss without consequence.

        The sexual harassment claim is iffy. How many employees are there? How often are things of a sexual nature happening? Have you told him it makes you uncomfortable? What was his reaction? Have you reported this to anyone else in the company? Asking you to perform personal errands isn't illegal or even outside the realm of reason as an admin assistant. Asking you to order Playboy is very poor judgement but it is iffy as sexual harassment.

        I'd report this behavior to HR or someone else in authority at the company since it is just not acceptable business behavior. I wouldn't count on it saving your job but it should put a stop to the behavior. If it does not, then you have a stronger claim for sexual harassment.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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        • #5
          I'm sceptical about the original post. She talks about all these "sexual" issues, but her userid is vixen, which has all kinds of sexual connotations. Just my 2 cents.
          Please no private messages about your situation.

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          • #6
            Why don't we leave any such speculations to PM's.
            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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            • #7
              Originally posted by cbg View Post
              Why don't we leave any such speculations to PM's.
              No problem.
              Please no private messages about your situation.

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              • #8
                Thanks that does clear up some

                In response to your questions here are the answers.
                There is no human resource department to complain to. My boss is a board member of the company. It is a small operation where typically only myself and him are in the office, with minimal contact to the others. Usually contact with 1099 contracters, vendors, and customers is conducted via e-mail or phone. Of course there are those that do stop by rarely or that I see when I am out of the office on legitimate errands or that stop by rarely. I am paid $17.50 per hr, this after a raise about 4 weeks ago. I find that things of a sexual nature are happening at least once a week. I repeatedly have found porn downloaded on my computer. I have discussed that it makes me extremely uncomfortable and he shrugs it off like I am a prude. I have discussed it with a few of the guys who are on 1099 status, but they already dislike him and like myself are really just trying to earn a living. IN regards to the verbal altercation I had, I agree it was inappropriate. The altercation was because he wanted to have me listen to him berate a vendor. I refused on the grounds that I was uncomfortable with it. I mentioned I was also uncomfortable with the porn, the lack of job description, him cutting my hours after giving me a raise, and the fact that he was intentionally misleading B of A, AMEX, and other corperations as well as 1099 contractors, and vendors by representing himself as " Joe Shmoe Esquire" instead of himself, which I was concerned with the legality of. I know representing your self as a doctor, a licenced contractor, a police officer, etc. I became concerned that a lawyer might be on that list as well and that I could be held responsible for assisting in something as such by sending faxes, e-mails, or letters. He asked me to initial several such documents as a witness again I refused. Now for the little quip about my screen name. I am in a city and girl was taken so vixen it is. Now for the kicker I know that I am attractive heck I know I have a large chest. I also know how to conduct myself in a professional manner and do not dress revealing. Seriously what is wrong with being smart and sexy?This is primarily a casual office. I dress 90% of the time in a pair of old jeans a pair of sandals and a nice t-shirt or a blouse. Occasionally I even throw on one of my boyfriends sweatshirts roll up the sleeves and put my hair in a ponytail? By no means does that scream- harrass me!

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                • #9
                  I think you have at least enough justification to contact the EEOC, or an employment attorney, or both, and discuss the situation with them.
                  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.

                  Comment

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