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I didn't want to quit but I felt that I had no choice.

The harassment started in April when I transferred from second shift to first shift. I was being harassed at work to the point where I felt that it was unsafe for me to be at work. There were three women, Jackie, Marcia and Donna, who made working there particularly unbearable. They were bullying me as a group by ignoring my work related questions and verbally attacking me by calling me stupid and ignorant on different occasions. I tried to ignore them because I needed this job, it was around, July that Donna, the most threatening of the three, became more aggressive. She would slam down heavy boxes next to my hand and if I asked for the tape gun she would throw it at me. She made it a point to tell me how tough she was and that I shouldn't mess (she used more vulgar language) with her because she could "slaughter me like a pig". Every day I was anxious and scared not knowing if she was going to flip on me or not, she was becoming increasingly more aggressive and I was afraid she would take things to a physical level. Then, on August 5th, I went into the Ladies room and Donna and another woman were in there. When I walked in they gave me dirty looks and started oinking like a pig and I knew what that meant. It was then that I decided to go to the HR department and make a formal complaint. (August 8)

On August 17th I was called into the HR department and that's when Beth Ann told me that she looked into the matter and Donna denied everything.
I was told that the incident was investigated and Beth Ann said "If you weren't you-- you know, if you weren't Kathy this wouldn't have happened. You come off very standoffish. Anytime I try to explain something to you you interrupt me." She basically said the women denied oinking at me and to be honest she doesn't care for me either and blamed me for these women's harassment. She then told me that maybe I should try to be nice to these women again next time that they're mean to me.
My supervisor was in the room as well and stated that I told one of those women they weren't doing their job right which was never said, when I described to him the exact incident, what happened, and who was witness to it he put his head down because he knew I had caught him in a lie.
Beth Ann never actually contacted the people I suggested who could verify the harassment- Misty, Jerry and Barbara.
Without actually resolving the problem Beth Ann then went on to discuss my FMLA which is a completely unrelated topic.
I left that room in tears.
I felt disappointed and scared still so I decided to get a hold of the corporate office. They looked into the matter for me, it took them a few days to get back to me but by then I had already decided to put my 2 weeks notice in because I felt I had no choice. I had asked to be switched to second shift and denied, the HR department was clearly going to be no help to me, and I would continue to endure these unprofessional, stressful work conditions. The anxiety and stress was taking a toll on me physically and I
was concerned for my safety and well being.
On August 24th a woman from the corporate office named Linda called and told me that she thought it was best that I quit and I would not have return to work. She said she would pay me for the 2 weeks notice and she would give me my vacation and holiday pay. I didn't want to quit but I felt that I had no choice. I was getting no help.




Hi,

Of course your story relates the possibility of what it takes to finally have good cause to quit and get unemployment. Effort to try to preserve your employment and that can be painful, stressful, and sometimes feel even dangerous.

HR screwed up and clearly didn't make any effort to eliminate the real problems in the workplace.

Allowing these women to do this is just the sort of thing I found myself griping about to myself when I helped employers.

They were trying to force you into quitting because that usually works when it comes to unemployment and retaliation is usually only actions made by the employer after you file official complaints.

Who knows .. maybe the FMLA was at the bottom of the lack of concern shown by HR.

But of course, the most important thing I would still want to know about, since were talking about UI benefits .. is whether you can fulfill the burden of proof attached to every good reason to quit.

Was it attributable to the work? Yes, it was.

Did you exhaust all "reasonable" efforts to preserve the job? That's the eternal question left of to the discretion of the reasonable person standard.

What kind of documentation do you have to fax to the claims adjudicator for the investigation?

Do you have a resignation letter as specific about the events leading to your resignation as you've been here?

Did it mention Linda? (She may be a weak point for your burden.

Any of those witnesses you told the employer about, also willing to act as your witness if an unemployment hearing becomes a reality, or would you have to subpoena for them to appear?

I'd like to ask everyone that reads this story of workplace bullying to put themselves in this person's place.

Would you have had the courage to stand up against it and try to resolve the situation first .. before you quit?

Knowing what I know about how UI works, I wouldn't have resigned until I heard back from corporate Linda to see if she would of helped, but she didn't .. she played right along with Beth.

Who clearly did not conduct a fair an impartial workplace investigation to resolve any bullying problem, or their would of been witnesses interviewed apart from the perpetrators .. for reasons beyond my ability to understand, setting a victim of workplace bullying up to quit out of desperation and frustration is a far more common act of workplace misconduct in the workplace that set the overall tone for the rest of the employees.

You need the job, but many of you can be controlled from taking any sort of positive and responsible action to stop what wrong through the use of intimidation and fear of losing your job.

I hope they have to pay, but I'm worried about "linda".

Chris
Document, Document, Document what goes wrong at your job.

It can become proof later on .. when you need it.

Comments for I didn't want to quit but I felt that I had no choice.

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Dec 14, 2011
Two weeks notice to ...Management
by: kathy

Yes I did...Dear Sandy,



I am writing to explain why I put my two weeks notice in. I felt as though I was being treated unfairly by Beth Ann and that my complaint to Human Resources was not being taken seriously. I do not believe she actually investigated the situation or spoke to people I had suggested, who would have confirmed the harassment I have been enduring. Instead, she took it upon herself to point the blame at me and threatened me when I tried to speak up saying she would “get me for insubordination.”



This is what happened: two women were in the bathroom, when I came in. Upon my arrival they gave me a dirty look and started “oinking” when I went into the stall; then they giggled and left. I reported the incident to Human Resources and a few days later I was called into discus the situation. I was told that the incident was investigated and Beth Ann said "If you weren't you-- you know-- if you weren't Kathy this wouldn't have happened. You come off very standoffish. Anytime I try to explain something to you, you interrupt me." She basically said she doesn't care for me either and blamed me personally for these women harassing me. She then told me that maybe I should try to be nice to these women again next time that they are hurtful.


My supervisor was in the room as well and stated that I told one of the two women that they weren't doing their job right which was never actually said. When I described to him the exact incident, what happened, and who was witness to it he put his head down because he knew I had caught him in a lie.
Without actually resolving the problem Beth Ann then went on to discuss my FMLA which is a completely unrelated topic.

Oct 26, 2013
Harassment at work
by: Anonymous

I have been getting harrassed and written up treated unfairly. I improve and they told me I havent they only see what they want. I have had sales stolen from me brought to managers attention and does nothing.

I cant win I have tried I am sick all the time. My health is suffering.They have told me this is a fire at will company that I am bringing the store down.

If I feel I am being picked on then maybe this is not the right place for you. There is a big turn over in the store. I feel this is good reason to quit. Will I still get UI. The managers find someone to pick on all the time.

I have seen another employee cry. But no one will say anything fear for it will be there turn.PLEASE HELP ANY SUGGESTIONS. THANK YOU ANOMYMOUS



Hi Anonymous,

I've gotten the same question over and over about quitting a job and collecting unemployment .. and here's the same general answer, minus the hundreds of different discussions about quitting where I asked additional questions related to the burden of proof to get benefits.

Proving good cause to quit, means you have an ability as an individual employee being "harassed" that possess within your assigned burden proof good cause existed. And that what you think is good casue will also rise to a level another "reasonable person" working under similar conditions would also be moved to quit their job for the same reason.


All states with with the exception of MT (who says good cause must exist to fire) are fire at will states.

An employee, or an unemployment claimant crying, is often chalked up by those who get to make decisions, to the victim of harassment being hypersensitive, or crying because they are not telling the truth. I'm just saying .. this is a common attitude of those who represent employers.)

Best a claimant be objective and unafraid and just as aggressive as ER's at hearings .. especially when facing the first hand witness .. who might very well be THE harasser .. because an unemployment hearing is no place to continue to be that person's victim.

Aug 13, 2014
i quit due to bullying and harrassment and lost my appeal
by: Anonymous

I resigned in June of 2014 after over 13 yrs of service. Had a new manager that was bullying and abusive in 2012. I went to hr in Sep 2013 and filed a grievance. I was told I had to meet with my director and manager to discuss the issue. The director told us to work it out between ourselves. Hr followed up with me 2 weeks later and I told them the issue was not resolved. No further action was taken, nor did anyone follow up with me. I sought outside help to cope from a psych. I presented this evidence along with many violations of employer policy at the appeal hearing. Before my hearing I got my hands on a policy called conflict resolution. I was never offered this policy or before new of its existence. It states that I should have received in writing a plan of action to resolve my initial complaint. I never got one. I submitted this policy as evidence along with an email from a co worker who witnessed the abusive behavior. I was still denied. My appeal hearing lasted well over an hour and I was well prepared. I have one chance left to appeal to the board of review. I think the judge was pissed that i had alot to say. Only fault so far on her part that I see in the denial letter is that my job title is not a curate and the fact that she ignored my complaint of employer policy violations I have a call in to an atty. But I've never felt so right about something like this before. It is injustice. Illinois



You know, a lawyer will be looking for the cases that support the possibility the finding should of been different.

IL UI Unemployment Insurance Handbook. It's huge, but a comprehensive resource for preparing for an Illinois unemployment.


Do you think the hearing officer ignored the conflict resolution policy?

Did you cross examine the employer's direct (first hand) witness about why they didn't use that policy to resolve the bullying problem?

Aug 14, 2014
harrassment, continued, illinois
by: Anonymous

Yes, I feel the hearing judge did in fact ignore the conflict resolution policy I presented as evidence. The director admitted he never followed up with me as well. And since the actual hr manager was not a witness, I felt I could not ask why I was not offered the policy. They had an he recruiter for a witness who I knew very little and she did not even have my job description correct. Still waiting on that atty to call me. It was a case of simple unemployment. Dang, just pay it. Now I'm determined to see that this does not happen to anyone else. If I win, or even file a civil matter and win, it is my passion and promise now to help others. Not with legal advice, but in any capacity, and in any supportive manner.




So, the hearing officer also gave more weight to hearsay testimony than your direct testimony.

Your appeal to the board of review is still within the administrative law agency and in Illinois, this means you don't need to have an attorney write the written argument, or brief for the board, but can also be done by a non-attorney ..

You only have to worry about court appeals after the board appeal. The purpose of appealing is to convince the board of how the hearing officer erred procedurally and possibly with their interpretation of IL UI law.

Boards who find hearing officer errors, don't usually reverse the hearing decision, but remand the matter back down to the tribunal level for either a de novo first level hearing (in which case they would vacate the hearing decision and assign the appeal to a different hearing officer), or they can also remand a case back down for an additional hearing to "fully explore" the facts in the case.

You go .. because I for one, think everyone, employers included, should be held to an equal standard and application of law when presenting a case. A hearing officer that renders biased decisions should be held accountable also, for what they decide if it is a less than objective application of the laws .. and case law.

If you don't hear from an atty soon .. let me know.

Illinois is a state I can help a claimant find a professional and experience non-attorney to write a written argument for the board.

Aug 15, 2014
harrassment....continued
by: Anonymous

On a brighter note, just got word today that my boss was written up for verbal abuse of a co worker and has been demoted immediately. I think I shook them up a bit and now they are scrambling.
that's just more proof that it was and is real.
2.5 months without a paycheck now. I think a trial may be justified now. I'm not a money hungry greedy get rich quick type of person. But this scenario should never happen. I appreciate your advice, and may contact you for those professionals you mentioned.
thanks!




You're Welcome and you're right

I believe allowing any sort of dysfunctional bullying in a workplace to go unanswered and without consequence, for whatever business focused sake used to justify it's existence is actually creating the fear and intimidation that prevents people from speaking up when something is wrong in the workplace.

Fear and intimidation = Retaliation and that is often what employers get popped for when someone files an EEOC complaint of discrimination.

Fact About Workplace Retaliation make it clear there is a lot behaviors by some managers and supervisors ignored by the "business" because of some ill-formed idea that it is the abuser making sure the "job" gets done that makes ignorance an effective way to handle complaints .. until the complaints become official.

Even if you witness harassment, bullying and discrimination, you have a right to complain in an effort to stop it .. but the question is, who has the courage to stand against what's wrong in the workplace.

At will employment is a double edged sword that only cuts one way until an employee finds that courage to speak up.

Aug 15, 2014
harrassment.......continued
by: Anonymous

Very well stated. And again, I thank you. I think Dr Gary Namie hits the nail on the head in this statement. I'm not sure if you will agree or not, but its to the point.
WBI





I like Dr. Namie too. I shared one of his you videos on my you tube channel the other day about condemning, or condoning bullying.


Aug 17, 2014
harrassment....continued
by: Anonymous

Good morning. You earler, in our conversations mentioned services available. I am still waiting on that call from the attorney. Perhaps they might be too busy to want to take a measley unemployment claim- maybe not enough money in it for them. But I am planning to pursue beyond that as well. And so, I am at the final stage which is an appeal to the board. As I understood it, I had 7 days to request the hearing transcript and I also requested all documentation of that file. I'm sure it will be costly at .25 per page. It is also my understanding that I will have 10 days from receipt of the transcript to file my argument.
so, do I complete the questionnaire as listed on this sight to hire a representative to assist me with this procedure?
again- I am in central Illinois.
thanks!



Yes, once you complete the form on this page, I will forward the information to someone who does and is, capable of writing good arguments for IL board appeals.

Of course, they will want to first do a little evaluating for validity of appeal.

You will also receive my phone number after you submit the form as long as you provide the correct email address to send auto-responder email with my contact info.

You may not even feel the need to contact me, but if you do, I'm at your service. Even if it's just because you want to talk, or have me explain something about any part of the referral service.

Aug 22, 2014
harrassment continued......
by: Anonymous

I will be completing that form soon, I haven't forgotten about your services. I have talked a couple of lawyers. One said my case was very interesting but they are very high end and want several thousand up front. The other was familiar with my employer and called them a snake pit, but quitting a job is a hard thing to fight. I'm not ready to put the sword down yet. So I will be in touch. My transcripts should be here late next week or the week after.




The sooner the better, it's a free initial consultation first.

Mar 24, 2015
my supervisor accuses me of having a bad attitude
by: Anonymous

Hello, I worked at a job for 3 years 7 months. I was always punctual, and very hard working. The place where I worked was a very hostile work environment. I still managed to stay there because I know I had to make a living until things get better for me. I was always harassed by other employees, and often times felt as though I wasn't wanted there. The company had employees that were working there for 15-20 years so everyone knew each other well. I even felt unwanted by my employer, and felt he place people in certain positions to stress me out. A couple of years ago the employers son worked for the company, and his son never wanted to do his work, but because I was new he would inject his work on me. One day he told me to do his work but I was doing my work and because I didn't move fast enough he told me that there would be consequences, more like a threat. I asked his father (employer)if I could speak to him and told him about his sons actions and he my employer told me I would do whatever his son says and what he says. I was in awww, that's when I knew I had no recourse within the company. The recent incident happened a month ago and my supervisor called me by intercom on the phone and said that another employee told her I got smart with her. I explained to my supervisor that was false, then my supervisor went on to say she don't want to send me home but my attitude is a problem. I told her that she didn't witness the incident I was being accused o so how can she just believe one side. She then said a lot o people say I get smart with them. I asked her who were those people because all I do is my work and mind my business. She kept telling me she don't want to send me home, but over the weekend I need to go home and reflect on my attitude. I left the job that morning because I had nothing to fix over the weekend. I am a hard working person, and I don't like conflict. Now the story is I voluntarily quit, and HR and my supervisor tried to get in touch me. No one has tried to contact me until 10 days letter by certified mail stating after two days o absence I would need a doctors note to return. I really tried to hand in there but the business was like a cult. There was no one to complain to, they all did what the employer told them to do, and they would never ire anyone, they just want to put you under terrible stress so you can quit. I want to file for unemployment insurance for hostile environment because of years of abuse. I felt I was all alone and that I was being plotted against or years. There were days for years which I didn't know how I would survive a job where people would harass you, and turn the table and said you was the problem. Please help!

Mar 24, 2015
But you did voluntarily quit when you never went back after the weekend.
by: Chris

I can't help you because as I read your story it sounded to me as if you voluntarily quit your job when by abandonment when you did not return to work after the weekend.

And despite all you said about the working conditions being bad because of how bad EVERYONE was to you, I didn't read much about the good cause you'd still have to prove you had, to collect unemployment benefits.

Jun 22, 2018
Resigned due to Harrassment
by: Anonymous

I hope I am commenting under the correct section and don't want to piss anyone off. I recently resigned from my merchandising position on May 25, 2016. I had just come back from my second term of LOA due to getting sick and my health had been deteriorating since November 2017, when a harassment issue had occurred. Below I will paste the appeal letter I sent unemployment explaining why I appealed and will also make mention that I do have my original LOA paperwork, phone recordings of my manager admitting to saying they would transfer me but didn't and original statements written and faxed to companies HR. I also have all the recordings from the conversations with HR recorded stating that my issue was "not a harrassment issue. " I read that you mentioned it may be illegal to record conversations based on my state but could not find anything stating that it was illegal to record conversations in the State of NJ. Please correct me if I am wrong.

My Appeal Letter
(Names have been changed to remain anonymous)

I was employed by ***company name removed*** for almost 5 years and was on excellent terms with the company until I started being harassed by a fellow employee starting in November of 2017. The employee and I were on good terms until he found out that I was dating an African American man, he then showed that he was disgusted and blatantly called me a "nigger lover" amongst other insults and became very belligerent towards me. My supervisor at the time was made aware of this situation and he advised me to stay as far away as possible from the employee (M.B) until we discussed what to do next with my District Execution Manager.


When K.J, my District Execution Manager (DEM) spoke with me he tried to encourage me not to take the insults personally and just ignore M.B. and stay away from him. He then told me that he would speak with him about the matter, which he did. He assured me that the issue with M.B. had been taken care of.

 

Just days after K.J. spoke with M.B, he continued with the insults and became very spiteful. He would wait until I got to work and follow closely behind me from the parking lot all the way to the time clock, snickering and calling me names like it was some kind of joke. It made me very uncomfortable and from there it only got worse.


The company's HR was contacted twice and they closed the ticket number after they did a phone interview, which they considered to be a proper investigation. The phone interview did not resolve the harassment and the end result was my mental and physical health severely decreased, which I have documentation for. HR's suggestion was a transfer that I accepted and my DEM avoided transferring me and told me he would not transfer me. After my DEM made it clear that he would not give me the transfer my supervisor started harassing me with petty claims that I was not properly performing my duties. These were claims that would normally be overlooked and they were sometimes trumped up to make it seem as though I was malingering. Up until then I was considered a model employee with many awards including "Employee of the Month".

 

It seemed as though they were purposely trying to build a case to terminate me. It was evident to me that, because of the harassment case, the company thought I was a troublemaker. Instead of addressing the issue it was easier for them to get rid of me. The harassment became so intense that I had no other option but to resign my job. I wanted to be as professional as possible so I cited health issues as the reason for leaving. In retrospect I should have cited all the reasons that I was resigning.

 

The bottom line is;

 

I was being harassed by another employee.

The company did nothing to deal with the problem.

My district manager refused to transfer me, which would have solved the problem.

The company then tried to build a case to get rid of me.

***Company name removed*** management failed to provide a safe and healthy work atmosphere.

I had no other option but to resign in order to maintain my health.

 

I went through seven months of mental torture because ***Company name removed*** refused to address a harassment problem.

 

I certify this statement to be a true account.

 

 

 

Sincerely;

Anonymous



Click to learn more about recording in person and phone conversations in New Jersey.

I'm truly sorry you had this experience as an employee. I too would appeal the denial of benefits citing a voluntary quit, without good cause.

Chris

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