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the employer being verbally abusive to you and others?

(Carpentersville, IL )

Periodically my boss who lives in another state but keeps his Illinois office open, calls our office and is verbally abusive on the phone if he feels something has not been met to his expectations and says "f***this & f*** that" during his conversations. He is more lately then ever and emotionally stressing out the office. I personally was recentaly told "so we're basically f****ed" by this employer and quite frankly wanted to just walk out the door. He knows we all need our jobs, by fiance is out of work & we have 2 children, one requiring daily injections for an illiness, my fiance is out work & I hold the insurance. Does this give him the right to treat people he has working for him with verbal abuse?

The other concern is that I'm doing the job of 2 people since one other person has already quit & I'm expected to get double the work load done or I'm not doing my job. When rarely a mistake happend I was told we are "f***d" and he has spoken to another supervisor over the phone this way in the past causing her to cry & leave the office in tears. Where does the line get drawn here and what can we do? I want to remain anonoymous but he is very revengeful and will take it out on our raises if we ever get them again.

Would an employee be eligible to get unemployment benefits if quitting under these kind of working conditions?

Please help me what to do here? I'm afraid Monday what to expect but will tell him I don't appreciate that kind of conversation and would like respect.

Thank you in advance!


I removed your name because at this point you should remain anonymous .. until you take some positive action to put this employer on notice that verbal abuse and profanity ridden business discussions with subordinates is not the way a responsible business owner or manager should get business things done.

How can I relate that unemployment benefits when someone quits is so much more difficult to get than when someone is fired? (Excuse me, rhetorical questions:)

But it's true and it's because the standard for proving good cause for quitting .. at least in my opinion is a higher more rigorous standard that what an employer has to do to supposedly fire with good cause.

People who are fired in retaliation for "something" the employer didn't like, took personally, or just didn't want to deal with get denied unemployment simply because the employee can't show that the employer was actually dredging up performance issues or rule violations to use to fire them for the other thing.

It's a game, anonymous. And if you want unemployment benefits you have to play by the same rules the employer and employees alike are expected to play by .. The labor laws and rules of a state and/or this country. I only talk about unemployment benefits .. but I've learned over the years .. the bigger picture of employment in general need to be considered.

If your entire office is experiencing this type of treatment "via telephone" realize there is some power in numbers.

Sexual harassment does not necessarily mean sex was involved .. it could be sexually offensive language .. that would never pass through your lips or simply who you heard it from makes
you feel uncomfortable.

Before anyone makes a move .. you all need to first have a civil calm conversation with this person and let him know his vulgar language is offensive to you and is unproductive. Isn't there a procedure for grievances in your employee handbook?

Document the meeting, the more of you there are the better. (by the way recording meetings in Illinois requires the consent of ALL parties involved)

If it happens again .. file a complaint with the proper reporting agency .. be it the EEOC or the IHRC. This is what protect you from retaliation because it is illegal for an employer to retaliate because someone lodged a complaint.

Quitting and getting unemployment is rigorous if you take the proper steps. The official complaint might not be a "required" step to get UI benefits, but if a hearing officer asked you why you did not do this or that .. what do you say if you have no documentation to prove your aren't just talking.

Anytime a job goes south, your antennae should go up and you should start developing a counter measure to either ensure you can keep your job or exit it with a severance .. or at the very least unemployment benefits .. if you need some money to survive.

As far as doubling your workload .. welcome to employment during the great recession, just be sure to document all objections to every added duty. When you end up not being able to complete the extra work to the employer's satisfaction and get put on a PIP you'll have something to work with.

Monday morning .. whatever you say .. be sure you can back it up with documentation as to what you have requested from the employer and what the response was. My solution .. email

Even verbal conversations can be documented by regurgitating the important highlights of a meeting.

Write it, send it, print it with proof you sent it and don't allow the recipient to bread the thread if they reply.

You don't really sound like you want to quit because you need the insurance .. I wonder how many people stay in bad work environments just for that reason .. I know it was the loss of health insurance that got me up in arms enough to begin this website with a vengeance .. thank goodness I've calmed down since then:) but if you work for a living .. you cannot let fear of an unknown reaction from a bully boss override your common sense .. you need to anticipate and have something ready to fire back with.

I have little patience for employers who rule with intimidation and fear .. sounds way to much like a method of indenturing, taking advantage of weaknesses, etc.

We always have choices .. even if that is to just walk away and find another job .. irregardless.

Although finding another job first seems like the smarter thing to do .. it would be helpful if there were more jobs to be had .. and you never do know what a job will be like until you've been there a while.

Personally, my solution, eventually, after forty or so years of working for someone else was to say F**K It and find a way to make money with me as my own taskmaster .. no regrets so far, but I preplanned the move:)

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Feb 07, 2010
Advise Well Taken!
by: Anonymous

Your response is appreciated!I hv to evaluate my emails in the AM to see wht he came up wth now.My 9 yr annivsry is nxt wk & he nvr used to be this way till he downsized his co frm 45 people to 15 & mvd from IL to another state.He made comments to me & to other employees abt an intrst he has on one of our secretarys,mkng it knwn he is attracted to hr & this hs wnt on for yrs,we do hv a & it says a grievance mst be filed wth the owner/pres of the co but he is the person who is at fault,so who do you file a complaint wth nw? My friend that is in ques for the sexual advances,he used to in the past call her sev times a day just to talk and then when her husb had a heart attack my boss actually told me"hey maybe I have a shot now"which would never be.My friend dont feed off his advances,she tries to avoid them & also tells him,I have to go nw I hv a lot to do,when others in the office cnt even get a simple response to an email on wrk related issues.She wld hv to tell him back off she is uncomfortable but nvr did since she nds her job too & haad told a few of the girls at lunch he was makng her feel uncomfortable.A few weeks ago,my friend he had bn interested in had responded to one of his inner offc emails that he expected the 9 of us girls to clean offc on our time,before 8am or after 4pm or he was going to hire a crew & reflect that on our paychcks & we all said no way,if he does we wld all contact the labor board & thr is one man who wrks in his own offc as computer programer,was nt involved in that email,my friend responded saying he was discriminating against us woman & nt mking the 1 man do cleaning too and he wnt bck/frth & came bck with an email to us stating forget about wht he sd on cleaning,he will handle it a diff way.Since ths happened to her a few wks ago he hs nt made any calls to her as he used to every day abt non wrk related issues & her grandma died & Fri aftrnoon she tld hm she has to tk time off for the svcs & he went off on her saying we are nt all doing our jobs & he tired of us.He knws we nd our jobs but we are all so upset.After 9 yrs have never had a missing charge slip till now & Im spoken to in the way I was Fri,wth the way you expressed sexual harrassment,he has broken that law/rule!He has trust issues abt people wrking & we all wrk our butts off thr or he wouldnt hv #'s he does,nor wld we be thr wrking our own hosp accts.He hs cameras installed so he can see wht we are doing while he is in his offc out of st.My acct hd the lowest AR last yr & he did everything in his power to run reports to see if I ws just writing things off because I felt sorry for pts or if they wr true & contractual & after speaking to my friend who wrks in the out of st office he is at,he made her rev reports abt the w/o's & they all were 100% accurate & he never let me knw this last wk at all!I'm glad fr coming across this site and the helpful advise you have given to me.I will hv to keep you posted to wht happens.

Feb 08, 2010
Very Upset
by: Anonymous

I had indicated in writing via email to my manager that I did not appreciate his improper use of language to me & that he was offensive and he replied to me that he does not recall that conversation. He is a liar! He talks that way to another person in our office all the time. So how do you prove he said something when he denies it? Not fair at all!!! Very hostile environment and when is enough enough? I can't quit without losing benefits for my family. I can't win here!


Calm down. You didn't really expect him to roll over and play dead .. did you?

Did you also remember that I told you there is power in numbers. What about that other person .. is it a female too?

I seem to recall that you told me he not only spoke to you that way .. he speaks that way to an entire group of people while holding meetings on the phone.

Nonetheless, if he doesn't "recall" the conversation .. you do. Maybe you could respond with something in your own words which drive home the seriousness of your intent.

Dear Boss,

It is disheartening to hear that you do not remember nor acknowledge the episodes of verbal abuse using sexually vulgar profanity, because I assure you this type of behavior and language is prevalent to my experiences at work and I am hoping that the courage it is taking for me to address this issue with you will motivate you to take this matter as seriously as I do.

You might continue on with some specific events to jog his memory.

After nine years .. you ought to be able to do this.

The weird part is just sending that email to him can help you prove .. should he retaliate with discipline .. that there was an ulterior motive for the discipline .. especially if you've been working for him for nine years and have so far been a good employee.

What would you consider winning? What's your primary goal?

Are you sure you don't need to talk with me?

Or better still, an employment lawyer?

Feb 22, 2010
Thank you for your advise
by: Anonymous

I would like to thank you for your advise. Today I ended up walking out & turning in my resignation with details via email. I have documented events and also may be checking into another means of complaint with the labor board. Intolerable work conditions are hard to be in and boss's think they can bully the employees and if they quit they won't get unemployment.

That is not always the case!

It is now up to the adjudicator to decide why an employee after 9 yrs would have working conditions so intolerable that the employee would quit. It's too bad that boss's who have great people would treat them so poorly.

I was told today by the unemployment board that employees have rights too and employers forget that & take advantage of a good thing! Will keep in touch!


Please do keep me updated.

It takes courage and nerve to quit a job and a large amount of perseverance to gather up enough to be able to prove good cause for doing so.

And they hit the nail on the head when they said some employers take advantage of employees ignorance of their rights in the workplace.

Mar 19, 2010
by: Anonymous


I just found out today that I have been approved for unemployment compensation based on my case & the documents provided. Things my previous employer had done & said in his emails are illegal and I was told I should file a case with the EEOC regarding filing a suit against him for making people work to clean the office on their own time & pursue back payment for this for the last 2 years, also filing a sexual harassment suit as well in which every employee will then be interviewed in that office. If he should happen to appeal my case now, then I perhaps will look into doing this, however, he knows he lied about things questioned too from the hearing officer and that I have documented proof of his actions and wrong doings, so the hearing officer is aware of the person he is & he was caught in a lie.

I just want to put him & his abuse behind me and move forth, but if he tries to make things difficult for me & appeals then I believe I will do the same for him & pursue with the EEOC. I have been on a few interviews, with another scheduled and just want to move ahead. I have been emotionally distraught enough by this employer and his methods of management. He is no role model & should learn a lesson that the way he treats his employees is unjustified and that employees have rights too. It's too bad for him that he lost the hardest worker he had there & the account I was on will go under without me. I'm sure he has lied to the doctor group as well about reasons of my leaving however, the truth always prevails and he will just dig himself a deeper hole. After his downsize he became a greedy boss that likes to bully his employees & overwork them & that's so sad this happened.

So, keeping you updated as requested, this will show others out there what you have always stated,
document the events, show you had good cause & made attempts to keep your employment & it is possible to get unemployment benefits if you have sufficient documentation! Thanks Chris for everything!

I am so very pleased for you .. if he appeals .. he's an idiot.

I understand completely about just moving on and putting things behind you .. Suing an employer is draining, stressful, and can be expensive .. life is too short to deal with the it .. unless they do something idiotic and then we might enjoy giving them a little of their own medicine back ..

Good Luck .. and thanks for the update.

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