What are my legal options regarding workplace harrassment?

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What are my legal options regarding workplace harrassment?

I’m on light duty do to a work injury which has resulted in 2 surgeries. They have been making my life hell. Just in this past week I was told they got a tip and then an anonymous phone call that I am doing drugs. So the area manager took me. Told the lab it was for under suspicion. I have at least 4 random since I started never a problem. Today I asked to come in on Saturday to make up hours due to doctor’s appointments, etc. I was told no because no one would be in the office and their only allowed to give the code to the door to certain people. Yet I have always had that code. They change it randomly. Another manager stumbled all over herself making up reasons. Then last night my estranged husband told me that another manager called him and started telling him all kinds of bullshit about me. I’m cheating and have been for years , etc. What if any are my legal options? I can’t take much more. Also, am I responsible to pay my insurance premiums when off on work comp? They say I owe almost $2000. I have no money to pay for advice.

Asked on June 9, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) Yes, you have to pay your insurance premium while on worker's compensation: being injured at work does not entitle you to get your insurance for free.
2) They are not obligated to let you come in when it's not your regular shift to make up hours you lost for your doctor's appointments. While they most likely cannot themselves take away hours or time from you due to your injury, the obligation to make a "reasonable accommodation" to injured employees does not extend to letting you do *extra* work or come in on a weekend.  Not discriminating against an injured employee is not the same thing as letting that employee set or control her own hours or decide that she wants to do more work to make up for lost hours.
3) IF they did get a tip that you were using drugs, testing you for that is not harassment. That key is whether they in fact received that tip or whether they did not receive any tip but rather tested you to harass you. If they tested you without some reasonable cause, then that may be harassment and you could report it to the federal EEOC or state equal/civil rights agency as illegal disability-based employment discrimination/harassment. There'd be no point in suing, however, because since you did not suffer any compensible injury from it (i.e. it was annoying and inconvenient, but did not cost you your job or cost you significant amounts of money).
4) The employer is not responsible for the manager calling your estranged husband to defame you with fales claims about cheating, etc., since doing that--making up lies about an employee's personal life and telling them to her spouse--is not part of the manager's job (it is not what he is hired or employed to do) and an employer is only responsible for  wrongful acts that stem out of an employee's job. You could, however, potentially sue the manager himself for defamation, or at least inform him that you will do so if he ever does anything like this again.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) Yes, you have to pay your insurance premium while on worker's compensation: being injured at work does not entitle you to get your insurance for free.
2) They are not obligated to let you come in when it's not your regular shift to make up hours you lost for your doctor's appointments. While they most likely cannot themselves take away hours or time from you due to your injury, the obligation to make a "reasonable accommodation" to injured employees does not extend to letting you do *extra* work or come in on a weekend.  Not discriminating against an injured employee is not the same thing as letting that employee set or control her own hours or decide that she wants to do more work to make up for lost hours.
3) IF they did get a tip that you were using drugs, testing you for that is not harassment. That key is whether they in fact received that tip or whether they did not receive any tip but rather tested you to harass you. If they tested you without some reasonable cause, then that may be harassment and you could report it to the federal EEOC or state equal/civil rights agency as illegal disability-based employment discrimination/harassment. There'd be no point in suing, however, because since you did not suffer any compensible injury from it (i.e. it was annoying and inconvenient, but did not cost you your job or cost you significant amounts of money).
4) The employer is not responsible for the manager calling your estranged husband to defame you with fales claims about cheating, etc., since doing that--making up lies about an employee's personal life and telling them to her spouse--is not part of the manager's job (it is not what he is hired or employed to do) and an employer is only responsible for  wrongful acts that stem out of an employee's job. You could, however, potentially sue the manager himself for defamation, or at least inform him that you will do so if he ever does anything like this again.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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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