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unprofessional in the workplace

by TC
(Austin, Texas)

I am a supervisor with a track record of high performance over the few years I have worked for my company. Our Texas company does have a progressive discipline process but I still have concerns because I have 2 of my reps stating that they did not like the way I addressed them (they felt I was being mean to them although there was nothing I said that would be considered inappropriate). It boiled down to them no liking the "way I said things" more than the content. I was actually just being direct. My boss feels that "where there is smoke, there is fire". I am not on any form of corrective action for this type of behavior but I am still concerned b/c I feel that my actions were exaggerated by my reps. There was also an incident where I told one of these reps something about performing and pointed out our low staffing, thus trying to get him to understand how his performance (or lack of) has a significant impact on our business. He turned that conversation into a rumor that our company was not doing well and there became concerns that we were going to close down. Although I never stated this, I was told by my boss that I caused the problem. I was forced to apologize for what I said to my team and even a month after this those two reps are being questioned in seperate "meetings" with my boss that I am not even informed about. I quite certain these meetings are about my conduct. There have been no further incidents in nearly a month, I am still concerned that there could potentially be termination. Apparently one of the reps was going to write our corporate office a letter with his "concnerns" about me. I think this caused panic with upper management and I feel they are going to take action against me. I am also wondering the whole incident is being blown up as somewhat of

a retaliation against me for complaining-I was overlooked for a promotion opportunity (never offered an interview) and recently complained about this and the fact that my monthly bonus was decreased. I did not make a formal complaint but I shared those concerns with my boss. I understand the "at will" rules but is this really behavior that you can terminate someone for without following the progressive discipline that is in place?

Hi TC,

You are an employee that also has the authority to act as an "agent of the employer", thus you are the employer .. right up to the point where you started to tell me that you believe higher up "agents" may be acting toward you this way as a retaliatory measure for complaining about being overlooked for a promotion.

I have no idea if you, being overlooked for a promotion, amounts to discrimination in the workplace, but the mere suggestion of retaliation by you, seems to suggest that the "employer" thinks it could become a problem for them and that this is just a convenient solution for them, given that you have kept your "complaints informal".

My suggestions ..

Reference the TX appeals policy and precedent manual for TX unemployment case law.

Make your complaint formal .. possibly with an EEOC complaint, and possibly after researching rights and employment law through Texas

And finally, start thinking and acting like the tenuous employee that you are despite the fact that until now you have been a wonderful employee with stellar performance.

And by the way, At will employment and the disclaimers in employee handbooks allow an employer to discharge anyone for any reason they want .. even for reasons contrary to the employee handbook. The disclaimer is generally what prevents "wrongful termination" lawsuits.

When contrary to the rules .. the only potential liability becomes unemployment benefits.

It is documentation you see fit to help create and or save, including Formal legal complaints .. that effectively, extend the employers "liability concerns" to lawsuits.

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