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  1. #1
    ittybittykitty is offline Junior Member
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    Fired by a bullying boss

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? I live in Connecticut, and have for the past 3 months worked for someone who frequently insulted me, made embarrasing comments, made fun of my apperance, cursed at me, etc. This would often cause embarrasment and make me upset, which in turn made my job performance suffer, as I worked with the public. Other employees have also told me that he has done the same to them. He pulled me aside today and told me that a customer complained about me, because he thought I wasen't paying attention to him, but I was busy helping someone else, and it was just a misunderstanding. He yelled at me and insulted me, telling me I was incompetant and should never again in my life work with the public because i was so horrible at my job, while other customers and employees were able to hear all of this. This was not the only occasion when he made me feel so bad, that i actualy cried. He then told me to get the "f" out, that I was 'f'ing" fired. To make a long story short, I contacted the U.S. labor dept, the labor dept of Connecticut and the BBB for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress and harrasment, and they all told me there was nothing I could do through them, that I would have to call a lawer. I have never in my life experienced this and I have no idea what steps I have to take or who to talk to. I'm not after suing for some outrageous amount of money, or out for revenge. I want him to be held accountable for what he put me through, and to stop him from repeated actions like this in the future. Does anyone have advice, please help!!!
  2. #2
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Since he hasn't broken any laws, you have no legal recourse. It's not illegal to curse out your employees or be mean to them. It's a poor business decision, but it's legal. You can file for unemployment, but since they will say you were fired for poor performance, you may or may not get it.
  3. #3
    UCLawyer is offline Member
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    itty bitty kitty,

    My sympathies to you and your situation. No one deserves to be treated like you were, and this jack-ass should be held accountable for how he treats people.

    Like ecmst12 said, however, being a jerk is not illegal just so long as the bully is a jerk to everyone equally. That's where my advice parts ways with his. I've actually done quite a bit of writing on how to overcome the "equal opportunity jerk defense" that these bullies hide behind.

    What you need to do is, first, reject the idea that this bully is "doing nothing more than being rude to everyone." Then, think back through the facts of not just your situation, but of everyone who is supervised by this guy. Do more women feel forced out by him than men? Do more people over 40 get picked on by him than younger employees? Is he harder on people who use their medical leave time? Have you expressed any kind of religious belief that he was hostile to?

    These hostile bully-bosses are not strong, brave people. They don't pick on white male executives who make more money than they do. They use the playground tactic of picking on people who make less money, people who are subordinate to them, people whom they perceive to be more mild mannered and non-confrontational. These bullies really are not "equal opportunity jerks" at all.

    Do you know of others who this guy has forced out, yelled at, or fired? If they are also female, or if they are all over 40... well... then you would have a good case.

    A successful senior attorney once told me, half in jest, "Don't ever let the facts get in your way." The facts you gave us are not enough by themselves. But seeing so many of these situations, there's surely more there. Keep digging, keep thinking, and then come back and let us know if you've found any pattern of this guy picking on people who belong to a protected class (women, minorities, older workers, etc).

    Hang in there ittybittykitty,

    -The Undercover Lawyer
    Last edited by UCLawyer; 06-24-2008 at 04:54 PM.
  4. #4
    cbg
    cbg is offline Senior Member
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    Poor performance is rarely if ever grounds for denial of unemployment. Not unless the employer can provide a pretty strong case that the employee COULD have performed to standard and deliberately chose not to.
  5. #5
    HarryLou is offline Junior Member
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    As another victim of workplace bullying, I so empathize. It is perfectly legal --- as UC Lawyer said -- unless you tie it to a protected group. You would need to have documented your case thoroughly and specifically with dates and witnesses. His own management may be protective of him. People may lie to protect him -- even those sympathetic to you. Self interest is a strong motivator. You might could speak with someone in employment law, but that road is a lonely and stressful one. If counseling is available to you, take advantage of it. I was not fired, just made so miserable I needed to quit. Also, no one ever yelled at me or shamed me -- instead they ostracized and isolated me. I too yearn for justice... but meanwhile will do what I can to bring awareness of the problem and make these behaviors unacceptable. There are support groups here on the Internet. Hope you find a new job that brings you happiness....
  6. #6
    scorp11764 is offline Junior Member
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    I too have experienced the Bully Boss. This man was an ex-marine and that is all that he was. I could see right thru him and he knew it and he treated me horribly. While going thru all this, one night I turned on Gleen Beck on CNN and they were talking about an initiative called the "Bully Boss Law". 13 states are attempting to pass a bill that would hold managers accountable for their actions. I Googled it and it is in fact legit. We need more laws on the books that protect the hard working Americans!!!
  7. #7
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Boss does not have to be a jerk to everyone equally. He can be a jerk to one person that he just doesn't happen to like. As long as he is not being a jerk to a particular person BECAUSE of a protected characteristic, he can treat people as unequally as he wants.
  8. #8
    cbg
    cbg is offline Senior Member
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    Here's the problem with that kind of legislation: the problem is a very subjective one.

    Some years ago I dealt with an employee who was emotionally ill. We knew it and we had her on an ADA accomodation. However, no matter how gently we dealt with her, she was convinced that she was being harassed. She was not, I can promise you that; in fact, anyone else would have been fired long before she actually was. But what she saw as harassment, any other employee would have seen very differently, and yes, I can say that for certain. She was telling the truth as she saw it, but her truth and everyone else's truth were quite different.

    I am by no means saying that everyone who thinks they are being harassed is imagining it. I've had that kind of boss myself. But who gets to decide where the line is drawn? Where is the line between needed and deserved discipline, and harassment?
  9. #9
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    I would say anything that involves screaming or swearing is right out....at the minimum.
  10. #10
    cbg
    cbg is offline Senior Member
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    I still want to know where the line gets drawn.

    Does the frustrated manager who's kept their temper against a particularly annoying employee who finally loses it and pounds her fist on the desk to a shout of, "Damn it, if I've told you once I've told you a thousand times..." get a pass? Or are they instantly sue-able? If they get one pass, are they now forever banned from ever doing so again? Do they get one pass a year? A month? Never?

    How do you legislate this>
  11. #11
    las365 is offline Senior Member
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    I agree with cbg. Coming up with an objective criteria to define bullying behavior in the workplace... I have had employees complain that I unfairly picked on them, when the truth was that I was telling them over and over again how to do the same simple things the right way and they continued to do them wrong. They were defensive and obstinate and it was maddening, because I was trying to work with them to make it work. Did I swear? Yeah, a couple of times. Was I a bully? No. Were these same people shocked and pissed off and would have been happy to try to sue when they finally got fired? You bet.

    We can tell from the postings here that many, many employees have a skewed perspective on the way they are treated and see themselves as victims when no one else does.

    We also see that there are bullies in the workplace. It's bad, but I just have a hard time seeing how a law against it could be fair and enforceable.

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