Quit due to retaliation/bullying for filing workmans comp claim then filing claim for unpaid overtime wages with Arkansas Dept of Labor.
I have worked for a small business employer for 9 years. My employer has a bad temper and was often difficult to work for. I endured several years of jokingly being referred to as the 'red-haired hussy' and jokes that went along with the name. A little over a year ago I was injured on the job, my employee-employer relationship began deteriorating at that time. Although my work would be considered by most as high-risk, my employer informed me at that time I was the only employee in 30 years to file such a claim. A year after filing the original claim I was sent to a new Dr that correctly diagnosed my injury, I was prescribed Physical Therapy 3 times weekly. My employer has 2 locations, one being a satalite location in which we rotate going to. My Physical Therepist was located in the same town as the 'satalite' clinic and even though we arent paid for an hour lunch at this other location, we didnt recieve a lunch break. When I asked my employer if I could schedule my PT visits on the days working at this location I was informed it was unacceptable, at which point I began researching AR labor laws and discovered that my employer was not only cheating us out of overtime for not paying lunch breaks we were not allowed to take but also for drive time to the other clinic since we begin the work day at the primary clinic. I filed a claim with DOL. As I said my employer has a bad temper and there has been times that he has screamed at me, posted complaints from unidentified sources about me for everyone to see and humilitated me in front of other employees. After I filed the claim my employer reduced my work hours and scheduled me going in 3 hours, off 3 hours then returning 2 hours, giving me no day off aside from Sunday (closed). In the 9 years of being employed no one has ever been scheduled this way, nor was any others scheduled to work these hours. I have had the
keys to allow me to open and close for 9 years and he changed the locks without notifying me, I realized this after trying to lock the doors for the second time and my key not working, asked the employee leaving with me when he changed the locks and was informed it was on a day that I was at the satalite clinic. While being off once again for the same work related injury I discovered that a commercial which plays locally in which I am in was altered to delete me (Just the part I am in) and then when I went to pick my check up he had posted a sign that stated 'no off duty/former employees behind the desk unless prior approval is given'. I was scheduled to return to work the next Monday but my anxiety and feeling of humiliation were so bad that I turned in a letter stating due to Staged Constructive Discharge (he has done this to previous employees too), Retaliation and Hostile work environment I would not be returning. He is fighting me recieving unemployment benefits stating that I have not been happy with any aspect of my job. I knew he would because he has stated that he has never had anyone draw unemployment benefits off him and never intended to, and has even posted one previous employees letter of denial outside his office. Do I have a chance?
Yes, I'd say you have a good chance since there seems to have been no one else for you to go to and since the retaliation seems to have begun after you filed all those complaints (good for you).
But also, if I were you (or any unemployment claimant for that matter) and you wind up at an appeal hearing .. I'd have a hearing rep
for the phone hearing who is detached from the situation and can cross examine your "former" employer .. There's a lot to be said for knowing just the right questions to ask .. at just the right time.
Especially, if you think your former employer is the type to lie ...