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November 27, 2012
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Legal Help. Long Story. (Northwest USA)

:iconvenneccablind:
VenneccaBlind Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Student General Artist
My husband and I both have a problem with our manager(s).
The place where we work is an entire high school clique. The only people who work there are friends or relatives of other people that work there, and the ones who aren't related are dating. The only reason I work there is because my husband does.
there are three married couples including myself.
there are at least two unmarried couples.
one of the shift supers is the daughter in law of the department manager
one of the island assistants is the son of the general manager (truck stop)
one of the waitresses in the restaurant, who is in a relationship with the restaurant manager and has his newborn baby, is the daughter of our safety coordinator.
and they ALL are friends. They ALL saw each other at halloween, thanksgiving, etc. they ALL go to the bar across the street with each other. they ALL babysit each others kids....
they are all friends...with the exception of I think one manager who is probably the best employee there.

well all my life...I have had a problem fitting in with people. not that i would LIKE to fit in with these people. but I am not part of their little high school popular kids table, and therefore, I am treated like crap. and that means my husband is being treated like crap too.

I have a genetic disease that causes me chronic pain and limits my ability to do some normal tasks. I also suffered a back injury and was ordered to NEVER EVER EVER do any heavy lifting again by my doctor.

My husband worked in construction when he was young, but suffered injuries there that he never got checked out (he and his dad are both stubborn). Physical activity, like lifting heavy objects, standing for long periods of time, etc, cause him pain.

Normally we can handle the standing for a long time thing. We have regular breaks, take pain killers, and if we really cant handle it, we ask to sit down for a few minutes (like 2) which is granted, since the smoking employees are granted extra breaks they arent really supposed to have, and we dont smoke.

There are two people in our deli that are leaving for college in another town.

We also lost one of our janitors this month to an asthma attack. It was very sad.

We are a little short handed at work then. I can understand filling in for those positions for a little while while they find replacements... but we found out last night that the company has no intention of hiring anyone else for deli, and probably janitor either.

the deli wouldnt be a big deal for my husband, but it is for me. so they scheduled me for it. Due to my disease, I have trouble doing dishes and sweeping in my own home... How am I supposed to do a good job at work?

they scheduled my husband for janitor. that does NOT mean cleaning toilets. My husband does a fine job of cleaning bathrooms, cleaning showers, mopping the floor....
its the giant barrels of trash he has to lift above his head.
its the cat litter bags he has to haul around when theres a spill.
and now the cold weather isnt helping.

He has literally been working himself too hard and is suffering tremendous pain in his joints. he has sprained both wrists in the same week, and is starting to have knee problems. He has talked to different managers several times asking them to NOT schedule him for janitorial/maintenance/physical labor (because they are all rolled into one at this location) because he is not physically capable of it.

now that nice manager is on vacation.

The daughter in law boss is scheduled like all week. the one that just happens to have some kind of problem with me for no apparent reason whatsoever because this is high school again.

my husband is scheduled for janitor. by the end of the night last night, he was about to fall over from pain. he asked to talk to our manager in private and told her how he felt. he told her he isnt cut out for the shift they are putting him on and that he was hired to run a cash register. if they need a janitor they need to hire one. her response was that everyone has had to do the janitor shift. the difference is that they are planning on making my husband janitor permanently, not just to fill in, despite his incapability to do the work. He is fully capable, and very good at, the position he was HIRED for.

at the end of their conversation, my husband asks the manager to keep it private. that he was just getting it off his chest and that she doesnt need to discuss it with anyone, even higher-ups. He told her he was planning to take it to the higher-ups when he felt it was needed, but wasnt ready. the manager agreed.

ten.
minutes.
later.
she is telling all the other employees! Gossiping that my husband doesnt want to do his job (even though HIS job is behind a CASH REGISTER)... she immediately told a girl on the shift we were working on, and someone from the next shift.

I have no doubt at all that she called her mother in law to tell her.
that she facebooked about it.
and that my husband is going to be punished. for talking to his superior about a problem he was having.

so, finally, my help needed. (sorry for the long story)

Isnt there a law, or a few of them, that protects employees from their information being shared like that?
wouldnt this be considered harrassment?
and lastly, what can we do since all the management up the line are good friends and family?
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:iconthis-chick-does-art:
This-Chick-Does-Art Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I'm really glad you got some great replies advising you to seek legal council. Please keep us posted.
I got so annoyed just hearing about your staff.
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:iconvenneccablind:
VenneccaBlind Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Student General Artist
yeah, Im hoping to not have to file a suit at all.
it turns out that like THE DAY we went back they held a meeting on sexual harassment, discrimination, and other harassment...video and all.

so now everyone is ronchier than ever because of course the whole dont sexually harass ppl video made people immature and uncomfortable. i think people will be a little more aware for a while...

my problem is that i forgive people way too easily. I know they are going to do shit like this again, but im likely going to get along with them too well to feel like its needed to do anything legal. my husband and i are going to remind each other when we are too nice.
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:iconthis-chick-does-art:
This-Chick-Does-Art Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Being a forgiving person is awesome BUT consider others that are in/may come in your task force that are not as emotionally strong as you and may face the same misbehavior if left unchecked. Either way though, it's how you feel at the end of the day; if it's worth it. You and your hubby sound like good support between the two of you.



But if it were me....no matter how "close" I feel to my staff....they would come to know a different side of this "friend". Business is business. Actually the mere fact they suddenly had an in-service like that tells me that after much gossiping they realized they could be in potential legal hot water.
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:iconvenneccablind:
VenneccaBlind Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Student General Artist
maybe they realized, maybe not. We did talk to someone really high up the chain... we are hoping for the best and if nothing improves, and if the gossip gets worse, we WILL take legal action. threat time is long past.
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:iconsereneautumn:
SereneAutumn Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
what about taking it to the labor board? they cover all the laws and regulations in the area assigned no matter the company I think they would help they can be fined for forcing you to do work they know is dangerous.
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:iconvenneccablind:
VenneccaBlind Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Student General Artist
thank you. i finally found them after calling some random law office. I had a GO FIGURE moment and realized of course it would be in the department of workforce services >.<

they definitely said that we are protected by privacy acts, and that her retaliation in an attempt to punish my husband by gossiping is harassment in their book. they said that they arent allowed to give legal ADVICE but the person I talked to said to get with a lawyer right away.
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:iconsereneautumn:
SereneAutumn Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I knew that's how they would reply. I took a course that teaches your rights in the work force, I'm in Canada so I'm not sure if the states have one, but I figured the rules couldn't be that much different :)
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:iconvenneccablind:
VenneccaBlind Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Student General Artist
Admittedly i am not sure how to go about doing that.
even when i try to use google, my results are showing hotels that have IRONING boards :(
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:iconwootsuperawesome:
wootsuperawesome Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012
as a legal assistant i'm not aloud to give you any legal advice but if you would like to come into my office some time and talk to one of the lawyers you can get a free consultation. He'll basically explain what actions you can take and such. give me a call if your interested
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:iconvenneccablind:
VenneccaBlind Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Student General Artist
i might charlie. ill get some details from you later. are you coming on wednesday?
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