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My Boss has been a bully, a 'my-way-or-the-highway' type of guy with a napoleon complex...
I work for a large hotel as a Director of Sales, and about ten months ago, my hotel acquired a new General Manager. Since the inception of his tenure, he has been a bully, a my-way-or-the-highway type of guy with a napoleon complex. While I have managed to stay clear of his fury for most of the time by deflecting his negative comments and sarcastic remarks I have run into a very tough situation with him.
I approached him with documentation to place someone in my department on probation and he turned the the table on me saying that I was the problem because I do not know how to run a department and I never will. He has diminished my capacity by allowing members of my staff to run things by him instead of me and I had no choice but to submit documentation to human resources. Since submitting that documentation, he came up with documentation on my performance, all of a sudden. I have contested his documentation and have asked for help in mediating this situation to the powers that be, with not alot of help.
Needless to say, I do not see an end to this and have started to look for another job. It is a shame, because I have had a very enjoyable five year tenure there and now I feel I am being pushed out. I have spoken with an attorney, who thinks I have a strong EEOC case, but I can not afford to retain him. I have considered filing a claim myself, but I do not know the legalities which surround it and what if they do not find my case strong enough?
Any suggestions on what to do and how to survive this? What have I
done right/wrong here? I look forward to your response. Thank you!
Dear Bullied and Confused,
It is interesting that a lawyer believes you have a good EEOC case, and further interesting that he won't take on a contingency basis. As you state, your boss is a bully. And, unfortunately, being a bully to my knowledge is not grounds for an EEOC claim. When I do corporate trainings on preventing harassment in the workplace, I make it clear that the equal opportunity jerk or bully is fully protected, unless of course he/she has discriminated against someone for an illegal reason. Such reasons may include discrimination because of race, religion, age, sex, sexual harassment, among a number of reasons. Because this lawyer believes you have a good case, there may be facts you have not conveyed to me. Further you have questions on what happens if your case is found to lack merit. I recommend that you consult with one or two more attorneys and get their opinion and answers. They will also want to know if you have an employment agreement, or if there is a company employment manual. These documents, and others, may give you rights that need to be evaluated. Also, your local EEOC office should be able to answer some of your questions. Once you have more clarity, you will know if an EEOC or other action is a wise course of action.
Certainly, your best move is searching for a new job. There is generally no upside to remaining in a degrading and confrontational environment. You sound very intelligent and I am sure you can bring great value to another employer that will greatly appreciate what you have to offer and give you the space to do your job.
Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.
Arnie Herz, Esq.
Feedback from Bullied and Confused,
Does making off-color remarks pertaining to my heritage hold any grounds? I approached him with my intention to terminate an employee who is troublesome and was denied and I am now forced to work in a very hostile environment. There have been several verbal altercations with this person and all of the situation have been brought to his attention and he has done nothing about it. My capacity as Director to the department has been completely diminished and I have now developed an anxiety disorder because of the occurrences which have taken place at this job. Have I no recourse for this job actually making me physically and emotionally sick and working in an environment where another employee is equally abusive as he is? I cannot believe that there is no protection for me against this! Please help anyway you can.
Response from Arnie Herz
Certainly off color remarks about your heritage can form the basis of a legal claim. I recommend you consult with a local lawyer who specializes in plaintiff's employment claims. You should be able to get a free consultation. The lawyer will be able to best advise you in light of your particular circumstances.
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