What are my rights if my ex-boss told me that if I ever talked to his boss about what he did on the job he would cut my hours and make sure I starve?

There were no witnesses (he was smart about it) but I did tell his boss what he said to me. She did not fire him. He would give me intimidating looks (he was a very large man) and I decided that I could no longer work there so I quit. Is there anything that can be done? I don’t want anyone going through what I went through.

Asked on July 20, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It depends--what did he do on the job? If it was sexual harassment, then you may have a claim for compensation for sexual harassment and should contact the state equal/civil rights agency or the federal EEOC. Similarly, if it was discrimination against you or another person due to a protected characteristic, like race, sex, age over 40, disability, or religion, there may be a claim for discrimination or retaliation for reporting discrimination, and again, speak with the civil/equal rights agency or EEOC. If it was a criminal act (e.g. stealing) or violating safety regulations, then you may be protected as a whistleblower against retaliation and may have a claim: speak with an employment law attorney about the situation.

Howeer, if was just that the ex-boss was highly abusive to people, or unqualified, or spent time he should have been working surfing the web, or wasn't at work the hours he claimed he was, or did work for someone else or his own business while at work, etc., then while all that behavior is highly inappropriate, there is no legal protection against it--a supervisor may do any of these things (or generally be unqualified, lazy, a bad supervisor, rude, etc.). In these cases, the company could legitimately refuse to take action; he could threaten to fire you for going over his head; and you would not have any claim to compensation.


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