Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What makes a work environment hostile?

Well how about a boss that is watching your every move hoping you screw up?

A boss that speaks down to you as if you are a silly child?

A co-worker that calls the boss on his day off to tell him that you did not tell him you were leaving for lunch - when you did find him and tell him before you left? Then the boss calling to yell at you on VM for something you didn't do?

A boss that doesn't thank you for going above and beyond and instead berates you for thinking to work on your day off and threatens to cancel your remote access account if you do it again?

A boss that ignores your request that he put things in writing so you have a written record because your memory isn't always the best and then berates you for forgetting to do things he couldn't be bothered to email you about?

How about a boss that signs off on policies without reading them and then screams at you when you act according to the policy that he approved? And then even worse writes you up for a bad attitude when you walk away rather than yell back at him?

I would call this a hostile work environment - this is what my husband is going through lately. His boss has turned into a first rate prick, hostile and rude. Last Friday when hubby was home sick he accidentally typed my cell number instead of his (1 number different) in his email and his boss called me and was extremely rude to me - then he called hubby and threatened to lock his account if he logged in again to do work. He wasn't kidding - he was being a royal asshole.

So we are trying hard to find hubby a new job. He is going to talk to his 2nd up boss today because she loves him and tell her how his boss is making his life hell and that he is sick about it and dreads coming to work. I told him to mention two things specifically - asking the boss to put things in writing is a reasonable accommodation for someone with a disability - he has MS - his memory isn't good and if it's not in writing he can forget. He has asked for things to be put in writing but the boss rarely does and then berates him if he forgets something. I consider this discrimination. And second - the sarcasm, the berating, the tattling, the ganging up on him that is going on all contribute to a Hostile Work Environment. I told him that mentioning these two "buzz words" in his discussion with the 2nd up boss should perk her ears up to potential lawsuit should his boss get around to firing him as he seems to want to do. She is the Assistant CEO - she will take this seriously.

May see if he can get a part time schedule so he can have a break from all this for a day or two a week. If they won't consider that then I am sure either his neurologist or his primary care doc will be glad to file the correct paperwork for short term disability due to depression and anxiety. Something has to give and soon.

*Update* The 2nd up boss listened to him and he got all his complaints out. She did not say much other than the obvious -there is a communication problem in your department. He also spoke with his boss who was pissed off that he had first talked to the 2nd up boss and "gone around him" well duh if you are going to act like an arrogant asshole of course he's going to go around you! So everything is laid out there in the open. I don't know what they are going to do about it but for now he's not quitting which is good for our finances if not for his mental health.

OH and his boss yesterday told him in a threatening manner that he could write him up for using a vacation day as a sick day last Friday because he had used all his sick time. And hubby didn't argue back at all! I jumped all over that - he cannot write him up because he has been approved for FMLA and can use up to 12 weeks of time with no repercussions! I told hubby to go to HR - get a copy of the signed FMLA paperwork and give it to the boss for his fucking records so he can get it straight. What kind of an asshole dangles that kind of threat over you anyway?

So helping to find him a new job is still high priority!.


Anonymous said...

Sounds pretty hostile to me. My HR department would be all over it with a quickness.

Lanette said...

That is a very hostile work environment if he has MS or not.

Can I ask does your hubby disclose his MS when he starts a job? I wonder because I will be looking for a new job in the next few months (god willing this flare will subside) and I wonder if I should disclose that or not.

Tricia said...

He did not disclose at the start of this job, no. He did tell them within the first few months. However - starting a new job now he would probably need to disclose to explain why he walks the way he does otherwise they may think he came to the interview drunk. I think he should use a cane - it shows that there is a disability causing the gait issues and they are not allowed to ask about it by law. I'm working on getting him to accept this idea of mine! :)

Jennifer said...

Gosh, that's terrible! I have a friend who's husband going through a similar situation. A hostile work environment is so awful because the stress it causes creeps into your whole life. I'm sure the stress isn't making his medical condition any better either.


Hateful versus Hostile if you ask me! But you didn't so...I'll just join the ranks of sticking imaginary pins in stuffed replicas of hubby's boss!

Linda D. in Seattle

Undercover Lawyer said...

Filing FMLA was a very smart move. You probably know this, but that boss cannot treat your hubby any worse after filing FMLA, and, no FMLA absences can be counted against him -- no matter how much vacation or sick time he's accrued.

Your husband can probably get into other protected classes too.