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Several serious concerns in Arizona

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  • Several serious concerns in Arizona

    Okay this is my first time posting after talking about my situation at work with my brother and family I have discovered several things that seem... well..fishy to me.
    I am a bartender at a local restaurant. There are several issues that I believe may violate both federal and/or state law. It will be easier to state them in list format:

    1) Working off the clock: We are encouraged to clock in at a time after we have been working for what may add up to 45 minutes or longer. We are required to clock out before counting our till and our tips (this can take up to a half hour or an hour) thus negating the ability to declare tips accurately. We are also required to attend monthly meetings without clocking in, sometimes after working until 12-2 am the previous night. The meetings are at 8 am. We have all been told that failure to attend these meetings is grounds for termination.

    2)Hostile work environment: If the owner or manager does not like you, or if you are not doing things as they are encouraged to be done. (if you rock the boat) then your hours are cut and you are nitpicked until you quit. They don't fire people to avoid paying unemployment I have seen this done several times. It has been flat out said to me.

    3)Confidentiality agreement: we are all required upon hiring to sign a confidentiality agreement not to discuss work or anything that happens at work with anyone including family members. I have seen this particular rule violated by everyone including the manager and owner. But according to them I am not allowed to go home and tell my loved ones that I had a bad day or even why.

    4) Projects: I personally have been given several projects to work on at home, on my own time, using my own gas, and my own resources. I was not compensated for any of this. I was told I was "not a team player" if I asked for compensation being told that if I did this project in the long run it would benefit me it most often did not.

    5) Audio/visual: The owner of the business records both video and audio of us at work the customers do not know this. It is not posted anywhere. That they are being recorded.

    6)Inappropriateness: I have been yelled at, balled out, and humiliated in front of several customers and coworkers on more than one occasion.

    I am having a really hard time at work with my bosses (two in particular) One of them is the owner, who can be a nice guy one minute and a complete jerk the next, and the manager who writes the schedule. Of late there has been a lot of underhandedness. I have been approached about my attitude for comments my boyfriend made about disliking the owner. He has been treated badly by him since they met. Yesterday a customer came in and was beyond rude. I gave him a chance to redeem himself but he was inappropriate. I told my boss this and he said I did the right thing and that had I felt the need I could have kicked him out. (which is nice but we are constantly told that we need customers as the business is struggling so I let the man stay)
    I went home and made a vague reference on facebook to people being extremely rude to people. I neither stated it happened to me nor did I say it happened at my place of work. It could easily have been something I read. My manager (who is also my friend on facebook or was said it never bothered me before (someone asking to "see my tillies...shall we say.) then made a comment about me discussing work matters outside of work. a few comments were made to her pointing out the fact that the reference in no way mentioned work or that it happened to me. I had yet to comment on the matter when she unfriended me. That is not a big deal to me, however, she writes the schedule and has been known to use it like a weapon. Recently a new hire was brought on. I caught her red handed talking about me and my boyfriend to the manager. She also told me they are training her to work the daytime bar shift (my shift) They also made mention of demoting me. I am scared that they are going to try to force me to quit by cutting my hours, giving me horrible shifts, and making my job more difficult by nitpicking and adding to my workload.

    I fear that there is some serious issues at hand here and everyone is afraid to say something for fear of the confidentiality agreement. I have seen good people let go because they did not bow and scrape to the people in charge. If you do not gossip with or spy for them then they get angry with you. In this economy it is very hard to find a job. I used to love going to work and now find it repulsive I have two people to support on a tiny income and can't afford to quit until I find another job. Does anybody have any advice for me? I work hard and feel extremely violated by my employers. I would love to just go in and do my job and go home but then if we do not go above and beyond or job requirements we are hounded and reprimanded. I don't know what to do. Can someone please help?

  • #2
    1. Not paying hours worked is illegal. File a wage claim or talk to an attorney.

    2. Saying something is a Hostile Work Environment does not make it legally true. There is a very specific meaning in the law, and what you have said (so far) does not meet that definition. Cutting hours or nitpicking because they do not like you is generally legal. Regarding UI, file the claim in response to the hours being cut. You are assuming that as long as the employer does not say the magic words "you are fired", that no UI claim is possible. That is an incorrect assumption.
    http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-ho...nvironment.htm

    3. Confidentiality agreements may or may not be legal. A local attorney will have to read it to be sure. There is no magic one-size-fits-all answer. But telling an employee to shut the heck up about what happens at work is mostly legal. Telling this to some employees and not others is mostly legal. And the employer does not need you to sign a confidentiality agreement to make the termination legal.

    4. You have to be paid for hours worked. File a wage claim or talk to an attorney.

    5. Audio/visual recordings may or may not be legal. Your state is not my state. In most states they can be legal if done correctly. Someone knowlegable about your states very specific laws will have to answer that one.

    6. Yelling at you in front of coworkers and customers may be a poor business practice, but it is mostly legal.

    It is generally quite legal to fire someone for what they say on social media or to their friends or family. Lets assume there was no confidentialtiy agreement. It would like likely be legal to fire you for talking out of school. Termination law is mostly something called Employment At Will.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At-will_employment

    Sometimes the only cure for a bad employer is to find a good employer, somewhere else. But if you do, there is some advantage to keeping your work life and private life separate. If you are going to publically trash your employer, even if you are making factually correct statements, of course they are going to fire you. That is something most/all employers will do. And Facebook and other social media is a public statement in which you have no legal expecation of privacy what so ever. If you want your private life private, then keep it private.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by DAW View Post
      Sometimes the only cure for a bad employer is to find a good employer, somewhere else. But if you do, there is some advantage to keeping your work life and private life separate. If you are going to publically trash your employer, even if you are making factually correct statements, of course they are going to fire you. That is something most/all employers will do. And Facebook and other social media is a public statement in which you have no legal expecation of privacy what so ever. If you want your private life private, then keep it private.
      Thank you for your advice

      I just want to make note...I do not trash talk my employer or the restaurant. Nor do I trash talk my manager. The reference I made was to someone being rude to someone else. It was VERY nonspecific.

      My manager was the one who brought up my personal life and while that is what it is, She is the one who made a reference to work. As I said I did not mention work at all anywhere in the post.

      My manager and I were friends and we hung out a lot. That tapered off as our shifts were changed so that we no longer worked together. ( i got promoted to bartender instead of working as her server) Eventually I heard about her talking about me behind my back. Again I can deal with this it happens. I am not a sissy. What bothers me is the fact that she denies hiring this girl to replace me then I am told the opposite of that is true. And I have been reading up and I realize now that the general meaness is not a hostile work environment.

      What scares me is that I may be forced to quit in that they may make my work environment intolerable. ( I have seen them do it to others.)

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Spiritkit View Post
        Thank you for your advice

        I just want to make note...I do not trash talk my employer or the restaurant. Nor do I trash talk my manager. The reference I made was to someone being rude to someone else. It was VERY nonspecific.

        My manager was the one who brought up my personal life and while that is what it is, She is the one who made a reference to work. As I said I did not mention work at all anywhere in the post.

        My manager and I were friends and we hung out a lot. That tapered off as our shifts were changed so that we no longer worked together. ( i got promoted to bartender instead of working as her server) Eventually I heard about her talking about me behind my back. Again I can deal with this it happens. I am not a sissy. What bothers me is the fact that she denies hiring this girl to replace me then I am told the opposite of that is true. And I have been reading up and I realize now that the general meaness is not a hostile work environment.

        What scares me is that I may be forced to quit in that they may make my work environment intolerable. ( I have seen them do it to others.)
        If the business is faltering and you suspect that a replacement has been hired; now is the time to start looking for a new position. For some reason, it is easier to get a new job when you are currently employed.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re #5 - Arizona: Surveillance - There is no state statute but common law privacy have been cited in cases that would prohibit surveillance in restrooms. ----Audio recording - One part-consent is sufficient.
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

          Comment

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