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Wrongfully demoted from billing clerk to Public Works West Virginia

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  • Wrongfully demoted from billing clerk to Public Works West Virginia

    I have a question. My sister, who was hired 18 years ago as a billing clerk for a town in West Virginia, and has done the job for the past 18 years, was recently demoted down to Public Works, working on the garbage truck, running the weedeater, sweeping streets, etc.... She was not hired as that--she was hired to work in the office. The newly elected mayor for this small town does not like my sister, and his reason for the demotion is that "she is not doing her job correctly"! She has done the same job for the past 18 years with no complaints from any of the previous mayors. Is there something that can be done? She will be 55 years old in August, and I feel that this is so wrong. I hope something can be done. Any help is very much appreciated.

  • #2
    Union or Civil Service? Or is town too small for civil service?

    If she could guess, why would she say the new mayor doesn't "like her"?
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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    • #3
      This town is really a small town. No union. And she has no idea why he does not like her. She was trying to explain a billing issue with him one time, and he started yelling at her and said " you can leave right now for all I care". Like I said, this is a small town, and for some reason he just does not care for my sister at all.
      She has done things the exact same way for the 18 years she has been there with no complaints from the previous mayors that have been there. She has went through public service commission audits, and state audits with no problems whatsoever. And now the new mayor has her working on the garbage truck today!! Yesterday she was not feeling well, and asked to be placed near a bathroom, and they told her to go weedeat, she said she does not know how to weedeat,( which she doesn't, she hires her grass to be mowed), and that she needed to be close to a bathroom, so they sent her home. It just seems as though he is trying to force her out of a job. Thank you for any help.

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      • #4
        Sounds like it to me, too. But I'm not sure what legal recourse she has, if any. Perhaps some other responders might have suggestions.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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        • #5
          I don't either, sorry. I'm not sure she has any legal recourse. As Patty said, maybe another responder might have a suggestion.
          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.

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          • #6
            Thank you guys for your info. I wish there was something that could be done. This is such a terrible thing for the mayor to do to my sister. He did not give her a verbal warning first, he gave her a written warning and stated that this was to serve as a verbal warning and written warning both. Then he said that he presented all of the information to the town council members and they all said to demote her. My sister confronted all of the council members and told them what the mayor had said, and all of them said that he never mentioned anything to them. I don't know, it is all messed up--that's for sure. It is so obvious that he is trying to get her to quit. She will be 55 years old, and it will be kind of hard for her to find a job with the benefits that she has worked so hard for with this job. It just seems so wrong for an employer to treat employees like this. Thanks for listening, and thanks for your help.

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            • #7
              If your sister thinks she will end up out of a job, has she thought about going to the local paper with her story?

              Normally I would not recommend taking something like this public but it happened in my town. The former employee was disciplined and eventually fired. Her manager actually had cause but this woman talked to anyone who would listen. It went on for years because she had it entered into the town meeting and tried to get the citizens to force her to be paid back salary. It never passed but it certainly created a lot of talk.

              So in the end your sister may be out of a job but perhaps she can cause the mayor problems in the next election, especially if she was well liked by previous administrations.

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              • #8
                Is the Mayor the main administrator or is there a City Manager or City Administrator. If there is, she could go to the administrator. However, if the town is small enough, there probably isnt.

                There is nothing illegal in this. Unfortunately, when a city is run by the Mayor, he is the boss. Just as in private industry, when a new boss comes in and wants to change things, he can. Even if something has been done the billing that way forever, the Mayor can decide he wants to change it if he doesnt like it. He can also decide he doesnt like someone and move them to another position if he chooses and its not illegal as long as the basis for the change was not due to any of the protected categories..race, religion national origin etc.
                If the Council is aware of the issue and chose not to override the mayor, I dont see that she has any other options.

                Yes, your sister was hired to work in the office. However, without a contract guaranteeing her that job, the Mayor has the right to move her to another job or terminate her, if he doesnt like her or feels she isnt doing the job the way he wants. No warnings are needed.

                Thats one of the drawbacks about working for a local government (besides the pay). Your boss is elected and can change every 4 years.
                I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
                Thomas Jefferson

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                • #9
                  If I were her, I would focus on trying to find alternate employment or figuring out what the Mayor's problem is.

                  Unfair, but not illegal to be treated poorly at work.
                  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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                  • #10
                    Thank you everybody for your opinions and help in this matter. My sister has decided to suck it up and look for other employment. It was a hard decision for her, considering her age, and the fact that she bought a house in this town when she was hired so she could be close to her work. This town is so small that the Mayor is the main person in charge, there is no City Manager, or City Administrator. It still seems so wrong for him to do this to her. I mean she was hired as a secretary (billing clerk) all these years ago, and now they have her throwing garbage on the garbage truck!!!! How terrible.

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