Verbally Abusive boss.

So first off let me say, I enjoy my job. I get networking connections that i would not normally get at any other place, which is the reason why i want to stay.

However my boss is verbally abusive, so much so in fact that he is known for it nation wide. The company is nation wide and many people deal with the company. He will stand there and pick any little small thing to go off on me or anyone else who screws up no matter how small the incident. He will stand there and say you fucking moron, or threaten job security for nothing more then a misjudgment of the weight of a particular object... (not even a gross misjudgment like 3-4 pounds off on lets say a piece of fish.

He does yells at employees and clients alike. His verbal abuse is too much and is getting to me emotionally. I sit at work and just sweat fearing that i could screw up any moment and have a whirlwind come down on me. Many times it even stops me from even wanting to do my job at all. Ive brought it to the attention to the only other person that could make a difference but ive told him to not do anything in fear that it would come back to bite me.

What can i do Legally?

1 answer  |  asked Feb 5, 2008 12:40 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
The Verbally Abusive Boss

Studies of the workplace pretty much show that the bad boss, including the abusive boss, is bad for business. Although bad for business, there isn't much employees can do about the abusive boss.

Under the employment at will doctrine, you have no right to be free of workplace abuse. Under the common law, your primary option is to quit, with or without notice.

The best protection against workplace abuse is probably unionization. In some cases, other laws might help.

Abusive bosses are bullies. Bullies usually look for something about you to use against you. Sometimes, they pick the wrong thing.

For example, you may have an abusive boss who truly is not prejudice against women. Nonetheless, that abusive boss might be tempted to use terms derogatory of women. Although I am sure there are attorney who will disagree with me, even though the employer can prove that the abusive boss is not prejudice against women, the use of terms derogatory towards women, if frequent and bad enough, might still constitute sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (or under the New York State Human Rights Law).

My experience tells me that putting up with an abusive boss only means that you can expect further abuse. Sure, a complaint might result in an employee getting fired for complaining, but at least that employee is now free of the abuser. So perhaps, the possibility of retaliation might not be such a bad thing.

Employers faced with complaints about an abusive boss have to proceed cautiously. Even if we assume that a complaining employee will never, ever, be able to provide illegal discrimination or harassment, illegal retaliation is much easier to prove. As a result, if an employer fails to handle employee complaints about an abusive boss carefully, the employer might create a successful employee lawsuit where one did not exist before.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Feb 6, 2008 09:39 AM [EST]

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