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My boss made me cry and spend 6 days in bed

Argon

Argon

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Aug 27, 2019
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USA
She plotted against me for months. We had a disagreement about how I take my break and lunch period months ago. What happens is that they delver us food to the break room at about 11:30 and half the time it's something good. So if I'm not busy I go get some and spend 10 minutes eating then I go back to work and take my official lunch break from about noon to 1 pm. Everyone knows I go home to visit my cat even if I don't need food. She tried to find a written policy that said I couldn't do that but she couldn't. She asked the program chief and exec and then came back to me and said they were ok with what I was doing. That was back in September.

Then last week I get called into a meeting with her and the program chief. She hands me a paper that says she has observed me violating policy by eating at 11;30 on a dozen days from September through February. She documented specific days. She was walking by my desk and watching me out of the corner of her eye apparently. For months. She told me she got mixed signals about what I was doing from the exec so she went to HR and the women there told her I couldn't do what I was doing. A 180 degree turn around. I was so stunned that I said I had a migraine and went home.

Then when I came in the next day she calls another meeting and tells me I have to stick to a fixed break time 12 - 1 pm. She has been standing in the lobby watching me when I come to work and when I come back from break. For the past 11 years working there I have been taking my break when it's convenient for me when the work slows down. Sometimes that's 12 sometimes and sometimes its later. There is a magnetic in-out board where everyone puts a magnetic button to show when they are due back from break. My previous 2 bosses had no problems with that system. But she says I have to do it this way to stop me from committing payroll fraud. I said she didn't have the authority to make these rules. They have to come from the exec and have to be posted where everyone can see them and they have to apply to everyone. I believe she is the one who is violating policy.

Then when lunch came at 11:30 I got some and spent 10 minutes eating. I e-mailed her and the program chief telling them I ate and went back to work then took my break from 12:10 to 1:10. I e-mailed that I planned to leave at about 5 - 5:15. She e-mailed that I was in violation and if I continued to disobey I would be punished. I asked for a 2 week vacation and she granted that. I went home and stayed in bed for 6 days. She's such a petty control freak and I don't think I can take it anymore.
 
M

Miho

Guest
What a sad and vindictive woman. If everyone has no problems with what you are doing then it must be her personal problem.

Is there a way you can speak to HR about this? Or maybe there is a person in the compagny you could meet that helps in cases like this?

If its possible you could bring someone with you.
This sounds to me like herasment and bullying.

I am so sorry you are going through this :hug1:
 
Argon

Argon

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742
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USA
What a sad and vindictive woman. If everyone has no problems with what you are doing then it must be her personal problem.

Is there a way you can speak to HR about this? Or maybe there is a person in the compagny you could meet that helps in cases like this?

If its possible you could bring someone with you.
This sounds to me like herasment and bullying.

I am so sorry you are going through this :hug1:
The first time she did this to me the exec and program chief told her to stop. The program chief even came up to me and asked me to tell her if my boss started harassing me like this. That's what stunned me so much. The program chief is now against me too. And my boss says she got approval to implement these strict rules directly from HR so HR is against me. I called my lawyer who didn't even remember me at first because I haven't seen him in 10 years. He said he would defend me if they suspended me or fired me. I do know a women who got fired when she refused to work 8 - 5 instead of the 9-6 hours that she liked and had worked for years. But just 10 minutes? I don't know if they can fire me for that.
 
Bipolarbear808

Bipolarbear808

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The first time she did this to me the exec and program chief told her to stop. The program chief even came up to me and asked me to tell her if my boss started harassing me like this. That's what stunned me so much. The program chief is now against me too. And my boss says she got approval to implement these strict rules directly from HR so HR is against me. I called my lawyer who didn't even remember me at first because I haven't seen him in 10 years. He said he would defend me if they suspended me or fired me. I do know a women who got fired when she refused to work 8 - 5 instead of the 9-6 hours that she liked and had worked for years. But just 10 minutes? I don't know if they can fire me for that.
I'm really sorry to hear that your boss is such a jerk! I've had supervisors in the past that have been micro-managers and I couldn't stand them. I don't think it's right for her to be singling you out, and if you feel that way you should talk to HR about it. Would it be possible to request a different supervisor?

However, I don't know if you realize this, but 10 minutes a day is 50 minutes a week. You're essentially stealing almost an hour a week from your company. 50 minutes a week times 52 weeks in a year is 2,600 minutes. Divide that by 60 minutes in an hour and you get 43 hours. So basically ever year you are stealing a week of work. I worked in HR before and thats how I would calculate it. I think this could definitely be grounds for termination, so be careful!

If she's watching you like a hawk, I would advise you to bring a to go container and just take some food to eat on your lunch break. I know this really sucks but you probably won't have to do it forever, just until things blow over. I really wish you the best and hope that things work them self out for you!
 
Argon

Argon

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I'm not stealing anything. We get paid hourly but we get told not to ever work any overtime and still get our jobs done. Years ago at another part of the organization my first supervisor spelled it out for me - if you have to stay late just come in later the next day. I asked a coworker who had been there for 20 years and she said that's the way it worked. Then a few years later I had another supervisor tell me to work overtime without pay. I have asked a few people in other places and they say basically the same thing - as long as you get your work done they don't mind if you come in a bit late or take a long break. I can't count the number of times I have worked over. I stay 10-15 minutes late all the time. She said I was in violation for doing that too. And I never take vacations so I lose that time often. I have been maxed out on vacation time for months and have lost over 20 hours of it.
 
T

toucan

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Chicago, IL
I think what Bipolarbear is saying is not that what she's doing is right, but that the legality of the situation isn't working in your favor. "Justice is blind" and all that :low: Although, aren't we supposed to get a 10 min break and lunch in the US? Maybe it varies by state?

Could you still talk to your program chief? Maybe they're just going along with her because she's so demanding and no evidence is being presented to counter her. If she's treating you this terribly then she's probably twisting other arms to go along with what she says and they're just going to go along with it so she stops twisting. Maybe that will change if you apply pressure from your side.

Is it a battle worth fighting? Could you start applying to other similar jobs instead? She can't control you if you're not there.
 
C

celticlass

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In this instance and based on UK law I would be arguing on the grounds of your mental health needing an employer to make reasonable adjustments to have you working there. This would be done under equalities legislation.
 
Argon

Argon

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I think what Bipolarbear is saying is not that what she's doing is right, but that the legality of the situation isn't working in your favor.

Could you still talk to your program chief?

Is it a battle worth fighting? Could you start applying to other similar jobs instead? She can't control you if you're not there.
I'm not sure about the legality of what they are doing. The way I read the rules the exec determined break policy not HR. I did talk to the program chief and she was on my side a few months ago but now she's just going along with what my boss says. I don't know if the exec knows what's going on..

I just found out I must have been suspended for 2 days and they didn't even tell me. The rules say they are supposed to tell me and give me a chance to respond. I was on vacation last week but I just went online to fill out my time sheet and see that I was down for 3 days of vacation and 2 days of unpaid time off. I'm calling my lawyer tomorrow. He said he would help me if they took action against me. He has helped people in my organization before.
 
Argon

Argon

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I have been having nightmares about dying in fire for months. I guess it was because I suspected she was not going to let things go and try to get me. I also had a nightmare last week about two men chasing me into the woods and I got trapped when I came to a river.
 
Bipolarbear808

Bipolarbear808

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I'm not stealing anything. We get paid hourly but we get told not to ever work any overtime and still get our jobs done. Years ago at another part of the organization my first supervisor spelled it out for me - if you have to stay late just come in later the next day. I asked a coworker who had been there for 20 years and she said that's the way it worked. Then a few years later I had another supervisor tell me to work overtime without pay. I have asked a few people in other places and they say basically the same thing - as long as you get your work done they don't mind if you come in a bit late or take a long break. I can't count the number of times I have worked over. I stay 10-15 minutes late all the time. She said I was in violation for doing that too. And I never take vacations so I lose that time often. I have been maxed out on vacation time for months and have lost over 20 hours of it.
Ok wait, first things first. Are you allowed a paid 10 minute break everyday by your company? toucan is right, most places allow you a 10 minute paid break for each 4 hours worked. But all companies are different. If you entitled to 10 minute breaks, then you're fine and you don't have to make that time up--and your boss shouldn't be able to use this against you.

However, If you're not entitled to a 10 minute break and you are an hourly employee, then you should be clocking out for those 10 minutes and either taking a 50 minute lunch break or staying 10 minutes later every work day to make up for that time. But you need to be taking those 10 minutes off the clock and not during company time or that is considered theft.

It sounds like your first supervisor was correct in most cases overtime is calculated weekly not daily. As long as you don't break 40 hours a week they don't have to pay you overtime. So you can work 10 hours one day and 6 hours the next, as long as it doesn't exceed 40 hours a week.

What your second supervisor told you is not correct though, it's actually illegal. Your employer can require you to work overtime but that time MUST be compensated if it exceeds 40 hours in a week. Unless you are a salary employee, if a salary employee makes over a certain amount they are not entitled to overtime pay.

If you are staying 10-15 minutes on a regular basis and your boss says that it is a violation, I would ask for the specific regulation that say you are in violation.

I'm not saying what your boss is doing to you isn't messed up. I think what she's doing really sucks and I'm sorry it's happening to you. But the law is very black and white when it comes to these things. And morality doesn't really factor in when it comes to the law. I think the fact that you have use or lose leave means you're a dedicated employee. But that probably won't help you if you've violated company policy.

The stages of reprimand are usually: verbal warning, written warning, suspension, and termination. If you're at the suspension stage your boss has probably documented more than a few violations on your part. If you find the regulations that your boss said you've violated and want to run them by me, I'd be more than happy to try to interpret them for you. (just don't share any classified internal documents).

I think it's a good idea to seek out a lawyer at this point and have him try to interpret the policies for you and see if you can resolve the situation. Try to play nicely when you get back to work, at least for now, because it sounds like you're on thin ice.
 
Argon

Argon

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Ok wait, first things first. Are you allowed a paid 10 minute break everyday by your company? toucan is right, most places allow you a 10 minute paid break for each 4 hours worked. But all companies are different. If you entitled to 10 minute breaks, then you're fine and you don't have to make that time up--and your boss shouldn't be able to use this against you.

However, If you're not entitled to a 10 minute break and you are an hourly employee, then you should be clocking out for those 10 minutes and either taking a 50 minute lunch break or staying 10 minutes later every work day to make up for that time. But you need to be taking those 10 minutes off the clock and not during company time or that is considered theft.

It sounds like your first supervisor was correct in most cases overtime is calculated weekly not daily. As long as you don't break 40 hours a week they don't have to pay you overtime. So you can work 10 hours one day and 6 hours the next, as long as it doesn't exceed 40 hours a week.

What your second supervisor told you is not correct though, it's actually illegal. Your employer can require you to work overtime but that time MUST be compensated if it exceeds 40 hours in a week. Unless you are a salary employee, if a salary employee makes over a certain amount they are not entitled to overtime pay.

If you are staying 10-15 minutes on a regular basis and your boss says that it is a violation, I would ask for the specific regulation that say you are in violation.

I'm not saying what your boss is doing to you isn't messed up. I think what she's doing really sucks and I'm sorry it's happening to you. But the law is very black and white when it comes to these things. And morality doesn't really factor in when it comes to the law. I think the fact that you have use or lose leave means you're a dedicated employee. But that probably won't help you if you've violated company policy.

The stages of reprimand are usually: verbal warning, written warning, suspension, and termination. If you're at the suspension stage your boss has probably documented more than a few violations on your part. If you find the regulations that your boss said you've violated and want to run them by me, I'd be more than happy to try to interpret them for you. (just don't share any classified internal documents).

I think it's a good idea to seek out a lawyer at this point and have him try to interpret the policies for you and see if you can resolve the situation. Try to play nicely when you get back to work, at least for now, because it sounds like you're on thin ice.
There are written rules that they don't seem to obey and unwritten rules that seem to be shifting under my feet. My first boss was not right. This is the overtime rule as written:
"Employees in classes assigned to pay grades 5 through 24 shall receive overtime compensation at the rate of one and one-half (1-1/2) times the regular hourly rate for all hours worked in excess of eight (8) in any workday or eighty (80) in a two (2) work week period."

That's what is written but not what is practiced. Our break rules are not written down or posted anywhere. My boss just made some up after talking to HR. They are not posted so they only seem to apply to me.
 
Bipolarbear808

Bipolarbear808

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There are written rules that they don't seem to obey and unwritten rules that seem to be shifting under my feet. My first boss was not right. This is the overtime rule as written:
"Employees in classes assigned to pay grades 5 through 24 shall receive overtime compensation at the rate of one and one-half (1-1/2) times the regular hourly rate for all hours worked in excess of eight (8) in any workday or eighty (80) in a two (2) work week period."

That's what is written but not what is practiced. Our break rules are not written down or posted anywhere. My boss just made some up after talking to HR. They are not posted so they only seem to apply to me.
Thats good that your work place has more stringent over-time policies. If you're forced to work uncompensated over-time again, you could file a complaint with HR or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If you're taking legal action, its always good to have things in writing.

As far as breaks are concerned, It might not be a bad idea to e-mail HR directly about your break policy. If they say the don't have a break policy, then you have it in writing. If they do have a break policy at least you'll know what it is.

Your boss definitely seems to have it out for you. If she's singling you out and only enforcing rules when it comes to you; you could file a grievance for "Hostile Work Environment". It really sucks that you have to even worry about things like this, but you have rights and if she's coming after you--you should protect yourself.
 
Argon

Argon

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I'm too anxious to file a grievance. If I won she would be even more mad at me and try even harder to find some way to get me.
 
Ghost_Owl

Ghost_Owl

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This sounds really awful Argon. I sadly don't have any advice it just seems unfair you are being singled out this way.
 
Argon

Argon

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My lawyer told me to e-mail my boss and ask why I had been docked pay. My boss says I was only approved for vacation after Tuesday last week. I didn;t see that in the email because I'm having a hard time concentrating. My lawyer says it looks like they are trying to set me up for discipline .My lawyer says I should contact the employee assistance program and work through them. I hate contacting new people. So many people are just bad.
 
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