Yesterday I posted this topic on another forum. I had thought that my claim was "hostile work environment", but it was explained that HWE only applies to Race, Ethnicity, Religion, Disability, Age, Sex, Color, and that I should base my claim instead on having "no reasonable option but to quit".
I was harassed to the point that it was impossible to do my job, because of my bosses extreme insecurities. Everything I did was seen as a personal threat to him. I know I'm not a doctor and sociopath isn't a legal argument but it's hard to explain how I was treated without explaining the motivation for why I was treated in this way.
How can I prove my case?
This is my original post:
The situation is that I quit my job due to a hostile work environment, because my former boss is a sociopath, and the other members of management his wife, and best friend from elementary school are in denial. They refused to take any responsibility and deal with any of his behavioral problems because it is too personal.
This really sounds like name calling and that's the problem. I haven't mentioned the words sociopath, or antisocial personality disorder in my hearings because it's my opinion and would require verification. Maybe harm my case?
I think my complaints sometime sound trivial because I can't really express the hostility and the way that employees were treated on daily basis. I claim that I was abused, but it sounds like I'm exaggerating. He would absolutely flip out over the slightest thing, and use it as a way to dominate employees. It was never about solving a problem, just control. When solutions were presented they were ignored.
He and the other members of management also exploited employees as a way to maximize profits and control them. When mistakes resulted they were used to portray employees as incompetent. I worked extremely hard, but it was never good enough.
There is a resent example of him physically threatening me when I pointed out a minor mistake he had made. He refused responsibility and tried to blame me and another employee. This evolved into a yelling match and him physically threatening to fight me. He yelled, made a fist with with his hand, and tried to stare me down. I didn't back down, but there was no fight.
Dealing with production mistakes is within the scope of my job as I was the production manager. I started as lower level employee, but in the end I really handled most of management responsibilities in my department, because my boss had repeatedly proven an inability to deal with problems calmly and effectively. This inspired resentment in my boss and made me his target. I was continually give more responsibilities and no authority. I was way underpaid.
When the other management refused any responsibly I demanded it with bad language and name calling. (This will hurt my case.) Not directly to my boss but to the only person in management was rational and capable of doing anything. It was meant to spur him into action. He tried to trivializes everything and I was expressing absolute outrage. Also I was proving that my bad behavior was somewhat justified.
I endured this situation for too long because I never wanted to give up, and wanted to protect other employees, I liked and was good at my job, I couldn't find another job, and I didn't understand that I can collect unemployment after quitting a hostile work environment.
When my claim was denied the only reason that was given was that, I "didn't get along with my boss". Very true but for lots of real reasons that were ignored.
I'm currently in the middle of an appeal. I had a phone hearing yesterday but we ran out of time after my testimony and cross examination. So there is a continuance a week from yesterday.
I really think I've proven my claim in several ways, but most of what I've stated was presented from the beginning when my claim was denied. It seems like the system is very biased in favor of the employer. What more do they need to hear? Are all claims where the claimant quit denied at first?
I don't understand why the employer is still fighting me. Who pays unemployment?
Should I try to prove he is a sociopath, do I need to state it explicitly?
What more can I do?
I guess I'm also looking for justification. Have I done the right thing? I gave three weeks notice and trained my replacement and other employees in things that had been exclusively my duty.
This situation has really been haunting me in job interviews. I know I should really just omit it all together by claiming that I left my job because there was no room for advancement, but leaving out so much really fells like lying. For years now truth has been my defense mechanism.
I'm so much happier now that I've quit. The world is a beautiful and amazing place again.
Thank you for your responses.