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  1. #1
    Graphic Artist is offline Junior Member
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    Unemployment due to a sociopath. Georgia

    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.
    Last edited by Graphic Artist; 06-18-2010 at 12:54 PM.
  2. #2
    xylene is offline Senior Member
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    You voluntarily left your job.

    You are not eligible for unemployment.
  3. #3
    Silverplum is offline Senior Member
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    Leave out ALL of the "sociopath" stuff. Ever.
  4. #4
    swalsh411 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by xylene View Post
    You voluntarily left your job.

    You are not eligible for unemployment.
    This blanket statement is false. I'm not saying that I think the OP had a valid reason to leave but to say that anybody who chooses to leave their job is automatically disqualified is simply not true.


    OP - They're fighting your unemployment because their tax rates go up if you collect. And even if they didn't contest it, that's no guarantee you would be found eligible. The unemployment examiner can still conclude you didn't have a good enough reason to leave your job.

    Hostile Work Environment (HWE) is a specific legal term and what you have described does not rise to that standard. Screaming at employees is not illegal nor is riding their a** for every little mistake. Do you believe that any of the bad treatment was based upon your status as a member in a legally protected class? If your boss treated a lot of people like that, that can be a very hard thing to prove.

    Continue with the appeal as you have nothing to lose. Your basic position boils down to that your boss made your life a living hell so you felt you had no choice but to leave. Don't use the word sociopath unless you went to medical school.
  5. #5
    pattytx is offline Senior Member
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    Calling Commentator**************.....
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    You have not won the law suit lottery; in fact, you haven't even won the law suit scratch-off.
  6. #6
    xylene is offline Senior Member
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    The poster is not eleigble for unemployment

    Quote Originally Posted by swalsh411 View Post
    This blanket statement is false. I'm not saying that I think the OP had a valid reason to leave but to say that anybody who chooses to leave their job is automatically disqualified is simply not true.

    The poster voluntarily quit - true

    Based on the facts presented, the poster does not qualify for unemployment - also true

    It is possible for there to be circumstances that a voluntary separation from a job may allow for unemployment. Those circumstances have no resemblance to the narrative the poster has presented, and such circumstances are quit limited in scope and occur extremely infrequently.

    So, as you point out a better phrasing for the poster would be

    You voluntarily quit

    You are not eligible for unemployment hence your initial denial and while I have no doubt that your tyrannical boss actually does have a personality disorder, you have not articulated anything that remotely resembles the basis for a winning appeal.
  7. #7
    commentator is offline Senior Member
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    This situation is an iffy one, all right, but it certainly can't be laid out as an absolute that if you quit your job, you can't get unemployment. It sounds as though this person has greatly weakened his own case for unemployment by confusing the issues, assuming he was entitled to certain things he wasn't, and failing to understand the whole concept of "at will" employment and being out of work through NO fault of his own.

    A "hostile work environment" isn't what the OP originally thought it was. He went into the whole thing saying he quit due to a hostile work environment as if there were some right to not have this. But there isn't. Being a jerk, a sociopath, a letcher, a manic depressive, a mean scheming slimy verbally abusive turkey of an employer who has mental issues is not in any way illegal. This guy may be a very successful businessman. The only right you have is the right to quit and find a better place.

    If you presented this case as you've described it here so far, your chances of getting to draw aren't very good. "being 'way underpaid" is totally irrelevant, because if you agreed to work for that salary, you agreed to it, whether it was enough or not, you can't then quit because it wasn't enough and get unemployment.

    Especially if you complained about how your were treated, how you had all these confrontations with your employer, and you fought back, you yelled back at him,(hopefully you did not admit to cursing back at him) you tried to change him, but you were still treated unfairly. For a long time, from the sound of your post. As someone else said, to have the very slightest chance to win approval of your unemployment, your contention must be that you had done everything in your power to resolve the situation and to be a good employee, and that you had no reasonable alternative except to quit the job.

    It would also strengthen your case if there were a "precipitating incident" in other words, after your boss stood in front of you and threatened to assault you physically, you walked out and left at that point. It weakens things up if you just woke up one day and decided you couldn't take it anymore, and so you left.

    If you quit your job, voluntarily resigned, then in unemployment law the burden of proof is on YOU that you had a very good JOB RELATED reason to quit. That your paychecks were bouncing is the classic good reason. That your boss was threatening you with a knife, that the company was doing something illegal or unsafe. But it's sort of hard to make a strong enough case that you worked there several (?) years, and all this time he was making your life so miserable and was so unreasonable that you feared for your safety and sanity and had no other alternative but to quit, and that's what you're going to have to do in this appeal.

    The most important question they will ask in fact finding where a person has voluntarily quit a job is "What did you do to try to resolve the problem before you quit?"

    Yes, if you get approved and draw unemployment, the employer's "thang will go up" as I heard one lady explain it. His unemployment tax rate will be raised by a certain percentage. He (and the other employers of the state)paid it all in, you do not pay in any of the money, and there are very strict rules that determine whether you are allowed to draw it. Being out of work "through no fault of your own" is the whole philosophy. Even if the employer did not do much of anything to protest this claim, the fact that you voluntarily quit your job means that whether there was a good enough job related reason to quit will be determined by the unemployment office.

    If the employer terminates an employee, the burden of proof is on the employer to prove that they had a valid work related misconduct reason to terminate the employee. But if the employee choses to quit, they have to prove they had a really really good reason to quit, and being yelled at and threatened and underappreciated and falsely accused, especially over a long period of employment isn't really strong enough to fall into this category.

    Nobody's actually entitled to all this sweetness and light and a happy emotionally healthy place where their efforts are appreciated to work. There are many, many jerks out there running businesses. If you get involved with one, and they verbally abuse you and threaten to fire you, let them. Whether you get approved for benefits or not, as you yourself point out, your life is much better. People in a miserable work situation tend to obsess, and now you no longer have to deal with or think about this person any more. That in itself is a good thing. Get another job as soon as possible, and move on.
    Last edited by commentator; 06-18-2010 at 02:53 PM.
  8. #8
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by swalsh411 View Post
    This blanket statement is false. I'm not saying that I think the OP had a valid reason to leave but to say that anybody who chooses to leave their job is automatically disqualified is simply not true.
    Xylene didn't make a "blanket statement". Xylene made a statement specific to this op's situation.
    Last edited by Zigner; 06-18-2010 at 02:47 PM. Reason: For the "ment"
  9. #9
    mlane58 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zigner View Post
    Xylene didn't make a "blanket statement". Xylene made a statement specific to this op's situation.
    Sorry Zigner, but swalsh is right that Xylene did make a blanket statement that is not neccessarily true in all cases.

    By Xylene---You voluntarily left your job.

    You are not eligible for unemployment.
    Today 12:51 PM
    This isn't true in all cases.
  10. #10
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by xylene View Post
    You voluntarily left your job.

    You are not eligible for unemployment.
    Quote Originally Posted by mlane58 View Post
    Sorry Zigner, but swalsh is right that Xylene did make a blanket statement that is not neccessarily true in all cases.

    This isn't true in all cases.
    Xylene did NOT say "When one voluntarily leaves a job, one is not eligible for unemployment."

    Xylene said "YOU" in both instances...the advice was specific to the OP.
  11. #11
    mlane58 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zigner View Post
    Xylene did NOT say "When one voluntarily leaves a job, one is not eligible for unemployment."

    Xylene said "YOU" in both instances...the advice was specific to the OP.
    It doesn't matter who she addressed it to. She still made a blanket statement to the OP and it was incorrect!
  12. #12
    >Charlotte< is offline Senior Member
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    xylene made two statements. Which one is incorrect?

    This one?
    "You (Graphic Artist) voluntarily left your job"

    Or, this one?
    "You (Graphic Artist) are not eligible for unemployment"
  13. #13
    cbg
    cbg is offline Senior Member
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    For the love of Pete, guys, is it really that important that we need to fill up pages of yes-she-did/no-she-didn't on it? What say we address the poster's specific problem instead?

    FYI, I'm the one who directed her here from the other forum where she posted, so she's already heard my view on the matter.
  14. #14
    Graphic Artist is offline Junior Member
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    I tried

    I think that I did do everything I could to solve the problem by repeatedly appealing to the other managers but they refused any responsibility.

    The last thing that happened before I quit was that on Monday one of the employees told me that our boss had yelled at them on Saturday about a job not being done on time. Saturday is the only day I wasn’t there as a go between our boss and the other employees. We all worked really hard and the only reason it wasn’t done was that we were being exploited.

    I was made the production manager only because my boss couldn’t handle the responsibility. He couldn’t organize jobs, delegate the workload, or deal with problems calmly. My position gave me lots of responsibility and no authority. He took no responsibility for himself or his department because he wanted to be able to blame someone for everything especially things that were really his fault.

    My boss wasn’t there that day (it was his day off) and I immediately called a meeting with the manager that was there. Basically I claimed that they weren’t allowed to blame us for this problem because it was there fault. We agreed to schedule a meeting. The only way to get something done was by absolutely cornering them.

    This manager was the good cop in there good cop bad cop scenario. He was kind’a on my side about my managers behavioral problems, but he really just avoided dealing problems rather than solve them. He claimed no responsibility saying “what’s that got’a do with me”, and that he was “out numbered” by the other managers. Who were husband and wife after all. It was too personal.

    The next morning in another heated conversation with my boss I repeated that they weren’t allowed to blame us for problems resulting from employee exploitation. He claimed that business was slow, and employee hours were based on a percentage of sales. This wasn’t true someone had left a while ago when business was slow and wasn’t replaced when it picked up. He used problems as a way to dominate people.

    We had a meeting I which my boss started by going over my job outline. He claimed that I was avoiding my duties. I proved that I wasn’t, and the other managers agreed that my performance was good under the circumstances. “This is not a democracy!” was yelled at me about six times. We added hours to the schedule, and agreed to another meeting sometime in the future. They all continued to refuse to talk about or take any responsibility for the way that employees were treated by changing the subject to anything but that.

    Because the main topic wasn’t handled at all, I requested another meeting the next day in a month with the other managers and not my direct boss present. I think this was a reasonable request. They were given the weekend to think about it. It was refused, I quit that night.

    Are prepared statements like this on admissible into evidence?

    I know that my behavior was bad sometimes, but you can’t deal with people like this by cowering in the corner. I did do that for a long time, but that’s what they want and it doesn’t work. I finally got out and hopefully the law will be on my side.
    Last edited by Graphic Artist; 06-18-2010 at 05:17 PM.
  15. #15
    cbg
    cbg is offline Senior Member
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    (Groan) Please tell me that you didn't say to your boss, "You're not allowed to blame us for something that's your fault". Please tell me you didn't say that.

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