What are my rights regarding my boss threatening my job and HR notinvestigating the claim?

My boss informed me that my previous boss would not be returning to work. He said he understands I have a friendship with her and it’s okay for me to discuss friendship stuff. However if he finds out that I talk to her about anything work related he will terminate me. He did this is a threatening tone. I went to HR and my employee relations rep did nothing but make excuses for him. She said he probably didn’t mean it like that and for me to talk to him to clarify. I told her I felt bullied and threatened and she didn’t document anything or pursue assisting me until I speak to him.

Asked on October 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your boss is allowed to threaten to your job if like, with only the three narrow exceptions discussed below. That's because unless you have a contract (exception #1), you are an employee at will, and an employee at will may be fired (or demoted, pay reduced, suspended, etc.) at any time, for any reason. So your boss can tell you not to speak to your ex-boss and can threaten your job, and HR is not legally obligated to do anything.

The exceptions:

1) If you have an employment contract which protects your job, it is enforceable.

2) You can't be discriminated against for your race, religion, age over 40, disability, or sex.

3) You can't be retaliated against for using a protected benefit (like FMLA leave) or filing a protected claim (like for overtime).


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