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EEOC complaint? Wisconsin

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  • Beth3
    Originally posted by takinit2much View Post
    I have worked 8 years for a small business. The owner is our boss and there are 13 employees. For six of those years I was a valued employee, given consistent raises and excellent reviews. Then a couple of years ago I was chewed out by the boss, in full hearing of the other employees, for a very small infraction. He barely spoke to me for two weeks, then things went back to normal. This has happened to me more frequently lately; public tongue-lashings, including profanity, in front of others. Sometimes the reasons were trumped up...not amounting to anything important. Other times I actually did make a mistake, though not costly or causing a lasting problem. When I do make a mistake, I readily admit it and see to it that it doesn't happen again. The last time he again cursed, has not spoken to me since, and has taken most of my work away from me and given it to others. I should say that everyone who works there has also made infrequent mistakes, sometimes costing us hundreds or even thousands of dollars in order to make it right. Even he, very recently, made a mistake which cost a lot to re-do. However, no one is being treated the way I am being treated.

    I am the oldest person there, and the most expensive due to my health care benefits and vacation time owed. Bonuses are no longer given in order to cut costs and we are all threatened that "if things get worse, someone will have to go." I have developed several stress-related health problems...depression, high blood pressure and cluster headaches, but have only taken 1 sick day in the past 2-1/2 years. I'm there every day working as hard and efficiently as possible, take overtime when asked, fix other peoples mistakes if they aren't short, have given him no good reason to fire me.

    I realize I can't prove any kind of discrimination, or that I'm in a harrassment situation, or even that it's a hostile work environment. But I'm not going to quit, and when it comes down to his firing me I believe I deserve and should get some kind of severance package. Is this reasonable? A co-worker suggested I file a complaint with the EEOC, even though I have no proof of anything, which will prevent me from being fired because it's retaliatory. But I'd rather wait until he does the firing and, if necessary, bring up the possibility of filing complaints about his behavior unless he does right by me with the severance.

    Thanks for reading through all this. Can anyone tell me if I'm on the right track? Just dreaming? Need a new strategy?
    The boss turning into an abusive jerk is not illegal under federal or Wisconsin laws. If he's singling you out for this treatment BECAUSE of your age, gender, or some other protected characteristic, then that is prohibited. Whether your age has anything to do with this is something no one can know. Perhaps he's selected you to be his favorite "target" for his stress and frustration just 'cause. (Perhaps because you're the least likely to walk out the door because of his behavior? Or you're the least likely to tell him to knock it off?)

    What you might consider doing is asking the boss for an opportunity to speak with him (pick a day when he's calm) and tell him you're really struggling with the change in your working relationship with him over the last several years and ask what you can do to improve the situation. (Ok - I know the situation is not your fault but accusing him of being a *^#^%*&$ and telling him you can't stand how he's treating you isn't likely to get you anywhere. Being non-accusatory and taking responsibility for the solution is a lot more likely to get HIM thinking about what a jerk he's being and thinking about his own behavior.) Good luck.

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  • Betty3
    Originally posted by Marketeer View Post
    Your state might have anti-discrimination laws that apply to smaller employers -- you'll need to check with your state human rights commission.
    Wi. state discrimination laws apply to employers with one or more employees.

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  • Marketeer
    The anti-discrimination laws that EEOC enforces generally apply to employers with 15 or more employees. It sounds like your employer is just under the size standard. Your state might have anti-discrimination laws that apply to smaller employers -- you'll need to check with your state human rights commission.

    Regardless, you'd need to be able to demonstrate that you are being singled out for this treatment on the basis of a protected characteristic, and I don't see that in what you've posted. It's not illegal to have higher standards for employees with more seniority, on the assumption that they've been they're long enough to not make certain mistakes. It's not illegal to have less tolerance for mistakes when the company's profit margins are down. It sounds like this guy may be an equal opportunity jerk, whose behavior is worsening because the company -- like many others -- is not doing well in this economy.

    There are no laws requiring the employer to provide you severance should you be let go.

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  • takinit2much
    started a topic EEOC complaint? Wisconsin

    EEOC complaint? Wisconsin

    Thanks to all who replied.
    Last edited by takinit2much; 07-12-2009, 04:09 PM.
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