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Looking into an Employee file?

by Benjamin
(Orlando, Florida)

I have worked at this company for 2 years. I worked the front desk at a high rise, and the "property manager" is a 26 year old woman and was my direct supervisor. We only had 8 employees and it is only a 23 unit condo. My boss has shown favoritism towards the woman who works the morning shift as the "admin assistant" title. They are the same age, live 3 doors down from each other, and everyone in the entire building knows they are good friends. The woman who is shown favoritism, is late almost every single day. Her shifts starts at 7:00am and she clocks in on a time card between 7:03 and 7:20 on around 85-90% of her shifts. She has been this late for the entire 2 years I worked there. We have all been threatened by the company "write up" if we are late. The entire staff and I have had conversations complaining to each other about this issue of favoritism. Our manager has given me the "worry about yourself" line and has become visibly angry whenever I asked for her boss's phone number. My boss done the following in the past 2 years: Opened my paychecks 2 times without my consent, Told me many details about other employees "write ups" and why they were transferred from another property which is a direct violation of the same policy used to terminate myself. The maintenence man and I were joking about the favoritism at work one day, and I went back to the employee files to prove a point between us that this "favorite" employee has probably never been written up. I looked in her manila file to see if there was a write up sheet and did not see one, went back and told the maintenance man who then laughed at the non-findings. I was terminated because the maintenance man who was just as unhappy with our boss as anyone was, went to her and told her that I went into an employees file. When I was terminated with cause, my parents and others wondered why the employee files, and all the homeowners keys
to their units were not locked up as they are required to be. Then I posed the question to my manager, If those files were locked away like the manager should have had them, would I have ever had the idea or ability to commit the judgement error??? He agreed with me 100% that this never would have happened or been an issue ever, if my manager had done her job first, but then kept adding that because I did make the wrong choice and look into the file, I had to be terminated. My actual manager never intended to have me fired, and my district manager said, "I know you didn't have any negative intentions with what you did." This is pretty much the extent of why I was fired. Double standards and Favoritism.

Hi Benjamin,

You have a problem.

I understand what motivated you to do what you did, but it was the wrong choice. What specifically does the rule say that was used to terminate you?

Have you ever heard the expression "two wrongs, don't make a right"?

If you had followed a course of action that showed an earnest desire to address the "management issues" you were having in a reasonable and ethical kind of way and then you were terminated for something that could be called a one time error then I'd feel much more positive about your chances.

An employees personnel file contains the SSN as well as many other "personal" details about an individual. I believe that a reasonable person would understand that accessing legally protected information (most states have statutes in place that an employer must comply with) about a co-worker that they were doing something illegal and could be terminated with cause for it. Under these circumstances, it doesn't really matter who else did what wrong .. the central issue is what you did wrong and whatever your manager did wrong does not reduce or minimize your culpability for your actions.

What the manager did wrong would be the central issue if, as she should be, is terminated for failure to keep sensitive private information secure .. including your own.

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