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Defying a supervisors order when it is discriminatory

by Helene
(PA)

I am a director of a department in a hospital. I have an employee that does her job when she is here. My supervisor has requested me to remove this employee from the schedule because she is overweight. I was screamed at because she worked a shift due to another employee asking her to work for her. I am tired of being harassed because we have overweight employees or black employees. If I let this woman work I will have to quit for defying her. Can I collect unemployment if i resign because I refuse to remove her from the schedule and let her work. She has no problem telling me right out that she is targeting her due to her size.


I am being targeted for some reason. I was screamed at because a piece of 20 year old equipment broke down, like I knew it was going to break down. I have been employed at this hospital for 11 years with a spotless record until lately. I expect to be treated like a professional and I expect a CEO to be professional.

What are my alternatives?



Hi Helene,

I wouldn't advise quitting without first making some other efforts to preserve your job and protect yourself from your employer.

My first piece of advice is to document, document, document. Conversations should be regurgitated, via email, back to the offending party to ask that your perception of the intent of the conversation is accurate. Remember, always remain objective and professional in the choice of your written words, but take every opportunity to "quote" verbatim, their offensive statements.

What I don't know though .. is whether body weight is a valid or legal basis for protection from discrimination whether happening to your or someone else.

I do know that anyone can report and file formal complaints of discrimination whether happening to themselves personally or whether a person has direct knowledge via witnessing discrimination.

I think we should all not only protect ourselves, but have the courage to stand up for others .. so kudos to you.

What I also think is if you are able to prove these conversation took place and you wind up getting fired or retaliated against for continuing to put this person on the schedule .. you would might be sitting pretty for a wrongful termination lawsuit, let alone unemployment benefits.

In fact, if you really wanted to show some force on moral grounds, I think you and this employee should go talk to an employment lawyer to get this employer to back off or at least explore the options available to you both.

You'd be surprised at the power of a letter sent from an attorney on your behalf for even small legitimate complaints.

And yours is not what I consider small, but completely intolerable.

One possibility to explore is whether her body weight might fall under protection of the ADA ..

But in any event, what does the employer's own policy say in regard to their own behavior.

In other words .. what would they do to one co-worker harassing another about their body weight.

So, in conclusion .. I would not quit quite yet if I were you.

I'd be thinking to myself .. if this is happening to me and her .. this employer is being just as calloused and disregarding of other people .. i.e., corroborating witnesses, possible co-plaintiffs.

What do you think .. I watch too much TV?

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