If you think your employer is bullying you, he probably is. And that means that he is intentionally doing it and probably won’t stop, no matter how well or how hard you work or how exemplary your work is.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute management did not stop bullying Aliana until they had made her so sick that she was physically and emotionally unable to come to work. They wanted her to quit, since terminating an employee without cause costs the employer money in severance pay or state unemployment tax increases. (ALIANA’S CASE AGAINST DANA-FARBER CANCER INSTITUTE)
But, guess what: being bullied out of a job is a form of being fired. The legal term is: constructive discharge. You are being constructively discharged, no matter how hard you try to hang on to your job, once you have been targeted as a persona non grata by your employer.
At this point you need to find the best lawyer you can afford to help leverage your position, particularly if you are up against a corporate employer. This is where it counts to do your homework. You are or will shortly be unemployed and possibly ineligible for the pittance of unemployment benefits to carry you over while you’re out of work. You need the best advocate you can find and unfortunately most are very expensive. Very few take contingency cases and hardly any do pro bono work. But at this early stage, you might find a social justice or civil rights group that will support you or at least recommend a qualified professional. The ACLU is a place to start.
Make sure the lawyers you interview are competent, meaning that they have a success record in employment litigation, that they are committed to your case, capable of successfully arguing at trial and familiar with state agencies, the courts, clerks and judges.
Oh yes, this is essential. You can be assured that your employer, particularly if he is a corporate employer, and his lawyers are well connected. Aliana’s former employer, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, is connected all the way to the White House and the Supreme Court in Washington. (http://www.muckety.com/Dana-Farber-Cancer Institute/5002625.muckety)
Let’s face it: as an individual employee you are always the David versus Goliath in this fight. Also, while you have loyally labored at your job, your employer has been setting himself up to terminate you at his whim, preferably without paying a dime. Some employers like Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which advertises compassionate care for patients and even their families, actually has a company on retainer that represents them before the state unemployment division to challenge legitimate applications by terminated employees for unemployment benefits, advertising per its internet ad that it was: in the business of “reducing employers’ unemployment costs”(Jon-Jay Associates, Inc.). Could they actually be in the business on advising employers on how to bully unwanted employees to “quit” so they would become ineligible for unemployment benefits? Why else would they otherwise be representing Dana-Farber Cancer Institute on unemployment benefit denials by constructively discharged employees? (ALIANA’S CASE AGAINST DANA-FARBER CANCER INSTITUTE©)
Face it: your employer is ahead of you. If his methods seem particularly vile, you are in all likelihood not the first and probably not the last employee this employer is bullying. In fact, you might want to search the court files and the files of the state Commission Against Discrimination to see how many other cases may be pending against your employer. Aliana found twenty seven cases against Dana-Farber Cancer Institute last year and she spent a good deal of time interviewing the complainants in those cases, almost all of them minority women. One disabled man. (ALIANA’S MISSION)
The work environment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute was in fact so hostile that Dana-Farber refused to produce a Staff Opinion Survey Aliana requested for her trial. Dana-Farber’s lawyers vehemently opposed producing it by arguing suggestively that the Staff Opinion Survey was: " only being sought as part of an effort to harass and embarrass Dana-Farber." Obviously the Opinions of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Staff are an embarrassment to Dana-Farber. But even worse was that the superior court judge sided with Dana-Farber in helping to shield the Institute’s hostile work environment from exposure, much as the church leadership shielded the exposure of abusive priests until the proliferation of sexual molestation cases became a global epidemic. Could the judge really have believed he was fair to the plaintiff or doing the people of Massachusetts a favor by protecting a major employer from having to produce its Staff Opinion Survey in connection with an egregious case of employment retaliation? – In fact, one of many such cases?
If you feel you are being discriminated, retaliated against or unfairly bullied and harassed by your employer because you complained of discrimination or because you witnessed or reported some other kind of impropriety at work plan your exist strategy. Keep a log of what is being done to you along with all documentation. Get your co-workers to sign on if they’re not already avoiding you as the persona non grata they know you have become to your employer and they want to keep their jobs. And don’t count on their honesty later on. If they don’t support you while you’re still there they won’t after you’ve been terminated. If you find you need an advocate, interview many lawyers. You’ll learn what to look for and what to ask in the process. And choose the one to represent you wisely.