What should I do if I am being retaliated at the workplace after submitting my resignation?

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What should I do if I am being retaliated at the workplace after submitting my resignation?

After giving 3 weeks notice, the AC vent above my head started blowing freezing cold air which is making me ill repeatedly. In the past I had requested it to be closed. I am very sensitive to cold air. I asked my manager for help and was told rudely that it was not their responsibility. I asked the office manager and she refused to help claiming that no one had changed anything. I wear my winter coat, hat and gloves and am still freezing. My managers see me freezing and give me ridiculous deadlines. I have been very ill twice when this started. I am physically and emotionally drained out.

Asked on April 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Ok you need to take a deep breath and regroup.  First, besides an office manager is there a personnel department?  You did not state how big the company is or how big the office physically is, in space and in employees.   What you need you to do is to follow any kind of office procedure that has been set out for you formally - like in a manual - or informally.  If there is no formal procedure then just be professional.  Go in and ask that your seat be changed for the remainder of time that you are there.  As for the work, continue to do as you had before and advise your boss of any bumps in the road that may cause the deadlines to be pushed back.   If your manager or the office manager will not respond to you then go above their heads.  You just need to survive the next few weeks.  But you need to make sure that you do everything on the up and up and that you let everyone know that you will not be taken advantage of.  Good luck. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, there really is no cause of action here.

First, be aware that unless you have a contract to the contrary, the company doens't have to let you give 3 weeks notice--that is, the second you gave your notice, they could have said "good bye and good luck." So it's difficult to make out a "retaliation" claim when you don't  have any legal right to still be there...and remember: just as the company could have asked you to leave immediately, *you* can leave immediately, so if you don't like the working conditions and you're departing soon, you might wish to simply leave now.

Second, managers may give people ridiculous deadlines. There is no legal protection from your employer being unreasonable, stupid, etc.

Third, you say the A/C vent is too cold. Possibly other people were finding it too warm. There is no legal requirement to make employees comfortable. While certain things--exposure to toxic chemicals or fumes--would be illegal as workplace safety violations or even as criminal acts, simply having a too-strong A/C does not even begin to rise to that level.

If you are emotionally and physically drained, feel abused, and are living in a few weeks anyway, you wish to consider departing sooner.


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