Mental and verbal abuse & harassment

I worked for a small company-10 employees in the office svereal hundred in the field. My boss was the owner-I reported to him. A mean, nasty little man who for 11 months bitched at me constantly--I could never do anything right. Screamed, yelled, contradicted himself and never missed a chance to tell me "I pay you too much, you don't know what the hell you are doing" etc ettc etc. He wanted me to leave as his business was doing bad and he really did not want to pay me. Out of frustration and sick of his demeaning treatment I quit - even though my husband is disabled and I am the breadwinner--I even refinanced my home so I would stand a chance at survival until I could find another job. He fought me so I could not collect unemployment. I never wanted to leave my job I loved it but he basically forced me out after 11 months. It was mental abuse. He treats everyone this way and has an unbelievable turnover rate--7 people in the office alone in 11 months, some lasting no more than 2 weeks. I am 52 and can't find a job! Shouldn't I be able to collect unemployment?

1 answer  |  asked Nov 27, 2001 06:16 AM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
The Generally Abusive Employer

In New York, if you have a generally nasty, abusive boss, there really isn't anything that you can do, except leave.

However, if you leave without being fired, you are generally giving up you right to unemployment compensation. If the treatment is so bad, you can seek a hearing on you application, and try to prove that the treatment was so bad that it constituted a "constructive discharge." If you succeed, and it is generally not an easy thing to prove constructive discharge, you should be able to get unemployment.

Note that the concept of constructive discharge is a technically difficult concept. However, there are very few employment lawyers who regularly practice before the unemployment compensation board on behalf of employees. I have only very rarely appeared in an unemployment hearing, and generally not because my client filed a claim for unemployment compensation.

Another possibility when dealing with a means, nasty boss is filing a workers' compensation claim. However, this suggestion pre-supposes that the stress caused by your boss's behavior was so bad that a doctor told you that you were no longer able to work under that boss.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Nov 27, 2001 11:50 AM [EST]

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