Dh filing a complaint against his boss w/human resources - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 165 Old 07-16-2007, 10:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dh thinks he's being discriminated against b/c of Jake's autism.

I don't think I posted the back story, but Shawn has been working at the same place for almost 6 years. Jake was dx'd w/autism about 2 1/2 years ago. I was a FT student until I graduated last May and last August I began working FT as a teacher, so if something came up, we had to alternate days off.

Shawn hasn't missed an extraordinary amount of work, either to care for Jake or any other reason, but one day last Nov, his boss commented about 'all this time off, maybe having another position (he's a supervisor) would be a good idea'. He felt his job was threatened, so he filed for FMLA protection for anything related to Jake. Jake has therapy every day of the week and we're very limited in care options b/c of the autism (and he's a flight risk) so either dh or I need to take off if our regular provider (mil) or our 2 backups are ill or need a day off for whatever reason.

The day after he filed for the FMLA protection, his boss changed his schedule (from days to nights) and his responsibilities (essentially making him not supervising as many people or functioning as a supervisor). He waited it out from last Nov/Dec to now to see if it was temporary changes (as he was told) or what. He was also told last Nov (before the FMLA was filed) that he would be promoted this summer (no real job changes, but only title change that would make him bonus eligible and give a little raise). No proof of this and his boss seems to be not willing to do this and she's really the only one who needs to approve/deny the promotion.

So, he went to HR today and told the story. He's got a meeting with her today to see the status of his job position, responsibilities, and promotion. We're fairly certain she's going to tell him no, and he's got to deal with it. (She's made other people quit by making them so miserable).

I've checked with the EEOC and dh is protected b/c he's a responsible caregiver of a person with a disability. I think that she thinks he's a white male under 40 so can't be discriminated against and is doing all she can to make him quit. He doens't want to- this is a good company with good benefits and he's now been here longer than any other company. He wants his old responsibilites and schedule back (and this promotion he was told he would get- but there's no proof of that, so we'll see).

I'm really nervous about this. I know we're in the right, but I can't depend on the HR dept doing the right thing. His boss has been there for a LONG time. he's meeting with her right now. I'll update later.

Any support or suggestions would be great!

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#2 of 165 Old 07-16-2007, 10:47 PM
 
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I don't have any suggestions but kudos to Shawn for sticking up for himself - he knows his rights and that right there is priceless. I wish him the best of luck - hopefully the boss gets put in her place.
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#3 of 165 Old 07-16-2007, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. THis particular boss has been claiming she's been discriminated against before- but it's never been anything valid. She's just crazy paranoid. She brought her car to a dealership to get checked out b/c she thought it had bugs. Not insects, but bugs- like someone was spying on her. Lots and lots of strange stories like that.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#4 of 165 Old 07-16-2007, 11:29 PM
 
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I seem to recall reading something about someone winning a really high-profile case recently, in which they worked for the DoA and were discriminated against due to a need to care for their special-needs child? I'm going to comb Ragged Edge and the other disability-rights mags to see what I can find. Apparently there's a LOT of recent precedent for this going in the parent's favor.

Caregiver discrimination is a big deal.
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#5 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 12:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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On the EEOC website there are 2 examples of discrimination of an individual caring for someone with a disability. One was a single dad caring for a son with a disability, the other was a husband caring for a wife recently dx'd w/MS. I know it's a big deal, I just hope the HR dept sees it the same way and helps to solve the problem without having to go the litigation route.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#6 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 12:17 AM
 
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I hope they take it seriously too.
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#7 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 12:18 AM
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You need to consider hiring an attorney who deals with EEOC complaints. And yes, you can actually get some considerable damages with all of this too.
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#8 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 12:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If it gets to that, we will definitely hire an attorney. We have the paperwork to start the EEOC claim before the statute of limitations runs out. Hopefully, it won't come to that. He wants to work for the company and keep his job on the same career path. He's very calm and rational when dealing with this stuff, but it's nice to know what we can do BEFORE the poop hits the fan (as it's likely to tomorrow when his boss finds out about the HR complaint).

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#9 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 12:36 AM
 
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I sure hope HR does the right thing. When will you know?

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#10 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 12:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, he reported to HR today around 3. He had a meeting with his boss about his 'responsibilities and position' at 5. HR said they had to investigate. Boss said basically things are the way they are and aren't changing any time soon. He said 'ok, thanks' and left it at that. She doesn't know he talked to HR yet, but will probably know by the time he gets in at 3pm tomorrow. She will be FURIOUS.

I'm not sure how long it takes HR to investigate this sort of thing, but I can't imagine it would be more than a couple of weeks at most. Once she knows he reported the situation, she'll probably do something incredibly stupid that might jeopardize her job. SHe's just that way- she holds a grudge and if she feels she's been 'crossed' she's a major B to deal with.

It's interesting to me that his boss, who is a woman (and a minority) would be THIS insensitive to discrimination issues.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#11 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 01:01 AM
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Well, he reported to HR today around 3. He had a meeting with his boss about his 'responsibilities and position' at 5. HR said they had to investigate. Boss said basically things are the way they are and aren't changing any time soon. He said 'ok, thanks' and left it at that. She doesn't know he talked to HR yet, but will probably know by the time he gets in at 3pm tomorrow. She will be FURIOUS.

I'm not sure how long it takes HR to investigate this sort of thing, but I can't imagine it would be more than a couple of weeks at most. Once she knows he reported the situation, she'll probably do something incredibly stupid that might jeopardize her job. SHe's just that way- she holds a grudge and if she feels she's been 'crossed' she's a major B to deal with.

It's interesting to me that his boss, who is a woman (and a minority) would be THIS insensitive to discrimination issues.
I would go ahead and attorney shop and get them to file the EEOC paperwork. The EEOC does their own investigation and he will be protected during the whole process. It would make them look really bad if he lost his job or was demoted or ANYTHING during all of this. The EEOC also determines if you have a right to sue or not with this whole thing. And if you go into it with them saying you can and should sue, OMG you will be able to pick up a hefty sum. You may be able to find an attorney who will work on a contingency.
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#12 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 01:07 AM
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I would also contact these people http://www.acdl.com/ at the Arizona Center for Disability Law and see if they can help or atleast refer you to an attorney who can help.
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#13 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 01:13 AM
 
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Do you think this is partly reverse-sexism? Men are not supposed to be caregivers? My DH was told by his brother, who has a very successful corporate career, that he was committing career suicide by adjusting his hrs (from 8-5 to 9- 6) so he could take DD to her special-needs school before work in the morning. (which was fine with his boss- same number of hrs total). It seems like anyone who puts their family ahead of work at all is looked down on by some people in the private sector. DH previously had a female manager who was a nightmare, in part b/c of time off b/c of my sickness during pregnancy which she did not understand. She only got the job b/c of connections w/in the good-old boy network.- DH and others complained about her and eventually she was fired.

its interesting about BiL though. he works all the time- never sees his children. always on the road. tons of stress and health problems. Makes me sooo grateful DH has his priorities together in spite of the advice from his brother. I can't imagine anyone lying on their deathbed saying, "if only I'd spent more time at work and less time with my kids...." kwim??? seems so obvious to me.

I'll be reading to find out how things go. I would not have even thought of this as descrimination but it really is..... good luck!

julie
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#14 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 01:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It could be reverse sexism- since she made a comment about ds's appts 'always seeming to be on Thursdays' (since he works a 4 day work week and is off Fri-Sun, she's implying it's not really necessary). Ds2 broke his arm and the orthopedist is only in the office on Tues/Thurs. Basically, any time time dh has missed would have been covered by FMLA (ds1 with the autism, ds2 broke his elbow- TWICE, and MIL had to be hospitalized for a week b/c of a heart problem. He's only filed the FMLA to cover Jake's autism stuff).

HOWEVER, bosslady took off a few days last week b/c her 13 year old sprained her ankle. I'm sorry, but a 13 year old doesn't *need* someone around 24/7 b/c of a sprained ankle if dh doesn't *need* to take time off to have his son go to therapy or have surgery on his broken elbow.

Honestly, I really, really hate to say it, but the worst bosses I've EVER had have been female. I think it really sucks to have to come to that conclusion and males can be jerks just as much, but IME the women are WAY worse and that sickens me.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#15 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 01:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Also, I did call the ACDL, they told me they primarily represent the actual people with disabilities, not family members. BUT, if the EEOC can't do anything for us, they might be able to help.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#16 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 01:42 AM
 
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Please understand that HR departments are there to protect the company. They almost never aid the worker. They investigate how to protect company and the more supervisory employees first. Contact EEOC immediately. Perhaps forward to HR some of that stuff from their website about caregiver discrim so they know that BOSS LADY screwed up and made them liable in a big way. I bet she knew it the minute he left HR. This happened with a maternity leave discrim issue with a friend a couple months ago and she had not even gotten back to her office before her boss came in a reamed her out for going to HR at all. Tell your dh to be very careful and write everything down and save any email or scrap of paper that might be passing his way in the next few weeks or months!!!!

HR said they had to investigate. Boss said basically things are the way they are and aren't changing any time soon. He said 'ok, thanks' and left it at that. She doesn't know he talked to HR yet, but will probably know by the time he gets in at 3pm tomorrow.
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#17 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 03:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shelbean91 View Post
Also, I did call the ACDL, they told me they primarily represent the actual people with disabilities, not family members. BUT, if the EEOC can't do anything for us, they might be able to help.
Can you call them back and ask for a referral to someone who might be able to help? They might know some good lawyers who work with employment law.

I second the calling in the EEOC sooner rather than later. You need someone on your side.

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#18 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She was in a meeting right before she met with him and left right after.

I know the HR needs to protect the company and in this case, dealing with the boss lady WILL be protecting the company as this is a pretty clear cut case, IMO. I know they generally side with the senior employee, but his boss has had MANY run ins with other employees at her peer level and below, so her history is sort of working against her.

I will start calling around looking for an attorney- I'll check my autism support group as well as contacting the ACDL back. Maybe our support coordinator from the state would have some ideas as well.

He'll definitely know something today, as boss lady certainly can't keep her cool about this for long, if at all.

For calling in the EEOC, we have to complete the paperwork, send it to the field office, who investigates and tells us if there is a case. He's already printed/copied all emails that support his case and we have copies of everything relevent at home.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#19 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 05:21 PM
 
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I don't usually post in this forum, but I saw this on new posts. I just wanted to say that I think your DH totally rocks for standing up for himself and your family. I hope everything goes well for you all!
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#20 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 07:12 PM
 
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Smart for printing everything out and keeping it in a safe place at home! I hope life isn't too crazy for him at work this evening.
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#21 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the support. I told him to let me know what happens. He doesn't think anything will be amiss today, but I'm not so sure. He thinks she'll be on her best behavior, I think she's going to be a raging lunatic. Maybe the day will be somewhere in the middle?

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#22 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 10:31 PM
 
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Just wanted to offer support. I hope all is well. I have had bad male and female bosses but never a good female boss, and I am sure there are great ones out there...but your DH's certainly is making a case for more bad female bosses. He sounds like a gem, I hope he is doing o.k.
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#23 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 10:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He's doing great. As of this afternoon, either bosslady hasn't heard yet or she's hiding her emotions VERY well. Our guess is that HR is doing a thorough investigation, starting with HER boss, crosschecking when he filed his paperwork, reviewing his previous workload, etc. We both think as soon as she gets even an INKLING there is something going on, she'll freak.

She's got a history of giving her supervisors a huge amount of responsibility and then freaking out and taking it all back as soon as they start looking good. She thinks they're all out to get her job and she wants to think she's indispensible, so she starts getting skittish. When she hears about this, she's REALLY going to think he's out for her job, which he really isn't.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#24 of 165 Old 07-17-2007, 10:45 PM
 
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Honestly, I really, really hate to say it, but the worst bosses I've EVER had have been female. I think it really sucks to have to come to that conclusion and males can be jerks just as much, but IME the women are WAY worse and that sickens me.
AMEN to this...here's our story---dd has severe SID and for several years had a feeding tube due to this (and reflux that made things worse) and dh works for a woman--but you know, and I hate to stereotype but here goes--this woman has never been married and has a cat and is very very large...she's very difficult and VERY unforgiving and harsh on all of her employees but especially my dh.
The first time he ever had to leave work due to dd issues it was a terrible issue and this woman is just as nuts as the boss your dh works for--she will (and still does) call our house and demand to know where dh is and talk to me like I'm her dog or something demanding to know where he is and then ranting about whatever the problem is that is work-related (like I have a clue as to what the heck she's talking about)--in fact, I've thought about getting caller ID just to screen HER calls!
These are the things you must must do--and we are doing this, so I know--
1) keep a record log of time your dh takes off and why and write down all details (like dr. appt at 3 with Dr. Bill for X)
AND document ALL conversations he has with bosslady over time off, expectations, raises, etc., etc., ---KEEP DETAILED RECORDS include comments, times, dates, etc. --everything he can think of...
2) keep a record log/book of any and all over time or extra time that your dh does to either make up for lost time or just in general for the company so that they can see that he fits the description of a dedicated employee
3) get a lawyer who deals with these cases IMMEDIATELY and get on line to find the BEST one in your area--google a search for support groups in your area on special needs and ask the parents in that group--that's what we did and we came out with a pit bull of a lawyer.
As nutty as this gal sounds, she'll back down if she knows your dh is serious. That should do the trick.
BEST OF LUCK TO YOU--you and your dh do not deserve this!!!
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#25 of 165 Old 07-18-2007, 12:01 AM
 
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I've been through a discrim case and the EEOC and this is what I can remember (and maybe you already mentioned you did this but I'll list it anyway):

1. File everything you can with everyone you can sooner than later. That was very wise to have gone to HR, it proves he tried to 'mediate' first. Dates matter big time in these situations.

2. Have Shawn make as detailed a timeline as he can, while he still remembers. If there are any other co-workers that can corroborate any of the conversations bosslady had with him (schedule changes, derogatory comments, promotion discussions) have him write it down, in case it's needed.

3. Print out anything at all from emails or memos that have a date or any references to these events.

Basically, it's highly possible the company may try and scare him out of trying to protect himself. And I know he wants to keep his job, but he needs to go into this situation ready to fight if he has to. Being prepared will show them that he means business.

Also, the EEOC will provide representation if they think he has a case. And the pp is right, it could be big money (though I know that's not what you guys are aiming for right now).

Good luck! I'll sub to see what happens!
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#26 of 165 Old 07-18-2007, 12:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks again. I'm going to have him start to write down dates/conversations as they happen. He's got a pretty good memory and enough of an email trail to fill in what he doesn't exactly remember.

Again, I would think his boss would have more sensitivity in the realm of discrimination, b/c she's claimed to be harrassed before because of her race/gender. I can't believe she doesn't find anything wrong with what she's doing.

As far as people corroborating his story, he talked to a person who is her equal that recently left the company and this guy said he would stand up in court if necessary to back Shawn up. There are many people who can at least talk about how erratic/irrational she is, if not specifically talk about this particular situation.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#27 of 165 Old 07-18-2007, 12:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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1) keep a record log of time your dh takes off and why and write down all details (like dr. appt at 3 with Dr. Bill for X)
AND document ALL conversations he has with bosslady over time off, expectations, raises, etc., etc., ---KEEP DETAILED RECORDS include comments, times, dates, etc. --everything he can think of...
Sometimes- he'll let her know something is coming up and he *might* need to have time off depending on if we can get other coverage. He'll end up not taking the day, but in *her* mind, he's taking 'all this time off'. Should he document he's telling her he *might* need time off or just when he *actually* takes time off do you think?

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#28 of 165 Old 07-18-2007, 12:31 AM
 
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Document everything. Both when he *thinks* he will and when he *does.*

This is so sad you have to go through this.
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#29 of 165 Old 07-18-2007, 09:41 AM
 
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In addition to documenting everything as pp's have suggested, also make sure that Shawn does not leave this documentation at work. It either stays with him or is kept at home. Don't assume that documents that are on his work computer will remain there. Sometimes things mysteriously disappear, sad to say.

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#30 of 165 Old 07-18-2007, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, we TOTALLY know about not keeping things at work without backup. Fortunately, anyone who might be responsible for deleting any of his files are also his friends/acquaintences, so that is a good thing. He's supervisor in the IT dept.

But, that's definitely a great tip. Work computers are not personal computers and the company has access to anything, at all times.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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