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

UPDATED: Oct 7, 2011

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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).

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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