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Harassment and failure to honor agreement made upon hiring

by CTA
(Illinois)

Harassment and failure to honor agreement made upon hiring


Hi! My situation is as follows, :

I currently work for a major corporation in Illinois as a part time customer service representative and have been in the same position for over two years. I am a bank teller. As a teller, my "primary responsibilities are to provide an excellent customer experience and to process transactions accurately and efficiently in accordance with established policies and procedures" (straight from the employee handbook.) In addition, I am to help "deepen and retain customer relationships through referring bank products". Though I do use my best judgment in suggesting bank products and services, a small but very crucial percentage of my teller performance is measured through obtainment of telephone numbers and bodies in banker’s seats (a.k.a. "teller referrals”) as opposed to quantity or quality of conversations I have with customers (because that cannot be measured). Because I fail to produce said phone numbers as a way for Bank of America to track my performance, I have been harassed by banking center management that I am not meeting a sales goal while I work in said customer service position. I am confronted on a regular basis by two or more members of management (which I have expressed is intimidating); recently these meetings result in my being shouted at as I remain as passive as I can while defending/explaining my performance. They ask why I am not getting phone numbers, they threaten that I am lucky I even have a job. The fact of the matter is, I am having conversations with customers which I deem appropriate with as many people as I can, I just don't hold the customer's receipt hostage long enough to force a phone number out of them. I am being harassed for not making sales even though I excel at the customer service functions of my customer service position. I received a verbal warning in October 2010 (also in writing) stating that I am failing to "identify customer needs and refer financial products and services"; I received a written warning this December of 2010 that now states I am "unwilling to build and deepen relationships by identifying customer needs and referring appropriate products (because I am not suggesting to the 16-year-old an IRA or the senior citizen with 12 credit cards yet another credit card--management's words); unwilling to consistently seek to delight customers; displaying a negative attitude and lack of desire to meet teller expectations". Upon receipt of this written warning, I was told I could respond if I wished: I would be given 5 minutes as two members of management sat and watched (more intimidation). When asked what the two new performance problems represented exactly, since they sound like they are referencing my customer service performance (as opposed to my sales performance) management said it correlated to my not doing what's right for the customer by again, failing to input referrals and make sales. I can quote my assistant manager as saying that we must exhaust all avenues “to force the customer to accept what is right for them.”
In addition to all of this, when I was initially hired on (3 banking center managers and two years ago), I made it clear that school was my priority and work would have to accommodate school; I received my position with this understanding. For the most part, my banking center was very accommodating of my schedule. However, I recently transferred to a new university and in Spring of 2011 I will have a new curriculum which will demand more of my time. So I requested that my 20-hour work week be cut to a 15-hour work week, with no particular days off so to be as flexible as possible. My request was denied and I was told by management that the company would not allow it. I do not have documentation of this conversation but I believe I can obtain a statement that will explain that the company does not allow part time employees to work less that 20 hours per week, although currently I work between 19.5 and 20.5 hours.

I will be quitting soon and was wondering if I should bother with unemployment. Thankss!!




Hi CTA,

First, I would like to
thank you for a wonderful representation of how employer's use a failure of a portion of job duties such as, "sale or referral quotas" you are supposed to acquire from people in the worst recession we've ever experienced as a way to build misconduct cases.

I'm also wondering why you are using the word harassment in reference to what I think of as typical disciplining measures of employers.

I do not see the harassment here .. unless you have gone to HR to make a complaint about being yelled at .. cussed at, called names .. etc., Harassment is not easy to prove, and unemployment may only require proving "unreasonableness" of an employer action.

If I were you, I'd forget about calling this harassment, and start focusing on ways to show that your failure to attain these quotas was not lack of effort or due to a bad attitude.

And I can read between the lines well and see that your attitude may be coming off as "non-compliant".

I don't care about two supervisors standing over you while you respond to a write-up .. telling you that you have 5 minutes .. Personally, I would just add that to my response if they forced me to finish before I was done with a thorough job of counter documenting and then I'd follow up with an email to HR explaining in detail what they wouldn't let me do, along with a request to add the email to my personnel file .. send .. then print for my own personal file.

But, although you could use all those descriptive references to the type of customers you have to "force" over to someone's desk .. as a reason to counter "poor performance" as not actually misconduct .. I don't think that is your main problem.

What I see as the root cause for you thinking about quitting your job is that they won't accommodate your request to change the conditions of employment by allowing you to work 15 hours instead of 20 a week and all due to the fact that the job is interfering with your need to attend university.

Work trumps school .. when it comes to UI benefits.

So here's what you told me .. that makes me think you could be doomed if you persist with what you are thinking might be good cause to quit.

I have not yet quit my job, but I will have to come the new school semester in 2011.

In addition to all of this, when I was initially hired on (3 banking center managers and two years ago), I made it clear that school was my priority and work would have to accommodate school; I received my position with this understanding. For the most part, my banking center was very accommodating of my schedule. However, I recently transferred to a new university and in Spring of 2011 I will have a new curriculum which will demand more of my time. So I requested that my 20-hour work week be cut to a 15-hour work week, with no particular days off so to be as flexible as possible. My request was denied and I was told by management that the company would not allow it. I do not have documentation of this conversation but I believe I can obtain a statement that will explain that the company does not allow part time employees to work less that 20 hours per week, although currently I work between 19.5 and 20.5 hours.


Did you get that agreement in writing?

But, despite all this .. they might just end up firing you for poor job performance caused by your "unwilling" attitude, before you have the need to quit.

So, I ask you .. did you happen to find and then explore the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Law Handbook I link to so often in my answers to those in IL?

If not, you might be surprised how useful it can be for knowing what points to bring out when dealing with an employer and when you file or during the phone interview and especially at an unemployment hearing .. should you get fired from your job for a failure to perform in a small, but "crucial" aspect of your job.

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