Is it legal for the head of my department to go to my boss about a complaint filed against her?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal for the head of my department to go to my boss about a complaint filed against her?

I filed a complaint with HR about my boss being verbally abusive and
misandrist towards me. I was told that HR had informed the head of the
department, which was perfectly understandable. I have reason to
believe the HoD went to my boss and told her I filed a formal
complaint. Is this legal?

Asked on January 11, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Arkansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is completely legal: there is NO protection for complaints about your supervisor in the sense that there is no legal restriction on the supervisor going to upper management with it. There is also no protection against being "verbally abused" by a supervisor: employers may be as unpleasant, abusive, nasty, etc. as they like, and the law does not guaranty you a professional or fair or pleasant place to work. And since employment is employment at will, you may be terminated for complaining about your boss, even if the complaint is accurate and justified: employers may, and very frequently do, terminate anyone who complains. Employment at will also means that the assumption is that if you don't like where you work, that you can go get a different job elsewhere.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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