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  #1  
Old 08-02-2011, 12:32 PM
Agent Foxtrot Agent Foxtrot is offline
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I am at a loss: my girlfriend works for Lucifer himself.

My live-in girlfriend works for a small five-employee company that sells sno-cone syrup and ice cream machines. She's been there about a year-and-a-half now, I estimate.

Every day, she comes home exhausted, near the point of tears, and wants nothing but a shower and a long nap. Her job has caused her severe depression (which she is now on meds for), anxiety, sleeplessness, and nightmares. Here's just a snippet of the things her boss (the owner) subjects her to:
  • As everyone knows, the U.S. has been going through a serious heat wave. Baltimore has not had a day below 100F for a month. She works in a tiny un-air-conditioned office (cashiering is one of her duties) in the warehouse. The boss won't let her turn on the warehouse fan because it's "too loud", even though he spends most of his time locked in his air-conditioned office.
  • There is no scheduled leave at her job. Once a year, all employees have two weeks off for Christmas, and that is intended to make up for the lack of leave. She's afraid to take any sick time or time off for other things because "he'll get angry". All this while he cuts out a few days a week to hang out at the bar with his buddies (literally, oftentimes that's where she goes if she needs something from him).
  • He publicly humiliates her in front of her co-workers and customers, calling her "stupid", "weak", "slow", and "a useless woman".
  • He flaunts OSHA rules. Wooden pallets have been stacked on their side in the warehouse, which is illegal. One of the pallets fell on her Achilles' tendon, causing her a lot of pain and some scarring. She's too scared to file a worker's comp. claim.
  • She's the only female in the company, and the boss allows the other employees to ridicule and mistreat her.
So why does she stick around? Well, she's a very smart and talented woman, but she doesn't have much in the way of marketable job skills. He does pay her a pretty decent wage, and she's had a hell of a time finding a job that can match it. She can't work for any less or she wouldn't be able to afford the rent where I live or her car note. He's makes damn sure that she knows she's expendable even though she runs that entire company by herself and the place pretty much shuts down if she manages to take an unscheduled day off. Her boss is no shrewd businessman and relies on her for almost everything. It's amazing the company hasn't fallen apart already.

I don't know what I can do. My strongest feeling is to go to his office and show him my tire iron collection. I've met this guy a couple of times. He's the epitome of a Napoleon complex: A small man in his 50's who pushes people around weaker than he is. I'm not a small guy, and I could very easily get my point across to him. I have a strong aversion to prison, however, so that's not an option. My next feeling is I can call OSHA, the Dept. of Health, and the Dept. of Labor, but he'll immediately know it she had something to do with it and since Maryland is an at-will state, he will fire her faster than Gomer Pyle on The Apprentice.

What can I do? I feel for her and listen to her vent about work almost every night. She's rarely happy about anything anymore, and it's starting to affect me and our house. We have to think fast, because she's pretty sure he's going to get rid of her at the end of the busy season.
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  #2  
Old 08-02-2011, 12:41 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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If she calls OSHA and he fires her because of it, her next step is an employment lawyer because that is completely illegal. That said, she needs to have the stomach to follow that through, and I understand completely if she doesn't.

I don't think there's much you can do except support her looking for another job. It might be a blessing in disguise if he does lay her off. If she's laid off, she should be able to get unemployment insurance, shouldn't she? Also, if she's documenting all the abuses at the job, she might be able to get it anyway (I did this once, when I quit due to bullying. My government takes it seriously when companies allow bullying, and yours might, too.)
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  #3  
Old 08-02-2011, 12:49 PM
pbbth pbbth is offline
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Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post

She can't work for any less or she wouldn't be able to afford the rent where I live or her car note....What can I do? I feel for her and listen to her vent about work almost every night. She's rarely happy about anything anymore, and it's starting to affect me and our house. We have to think fast, because she's pretty sure he's going to get rid of her at the end of the busy season.
Would it be possible for her to sell her car and go without a vehicle for a while or buy a cheap used vehicle to replace it so that she doesn't have the car note to worry about? If not would you be able to afford for her to pay less than her usual amount of rent for a while while she finds better employment?
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:50 PM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is offline
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Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post
We have to think fast, because she's pretty sure he's going to get rid of her at the end of the busy season.
It's unclear to me what your/her goal is. She has three options:

1. Put up and shut up. Sounds like she's tired of doing this.

2. Quit. But if she is already expecting to lose her job at the end of the busy season (whenever that might be), then it seems pointless to say she should quit (except to avoid ongoing abuse between now and the end of the busy season). Moreover, presumably she is already searching for another job in anticipation of losing this one.

3. Demand better treatment. If she hasn't done this after a year and a half, it's unlikely to happen any time soon.

Bottom line, I doubt anything is going to happen before she gets canned at the end of the busy season.

You say she's smart and talented? If so, maybe she should look upon this miserable experience as a lesson/incentive to take out some student loans and go to community college or vo-tech school or something to pick up some skills and a degree. That way she won't have to put up with shit treatment in the future; she'll have options.
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  #5  
Old 08-02-2011, 12:57 PM
GrandWino GrandWino is offline
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Curious because of the small size of this company... Is there a minimum number of employees a business has to have in order to have OSHA guidelines enforced?

Follow up question, does she at least get free sno-cones and ice cream?

Basically, all you can do is help support her in finding a new job. Staying at that place shouldn't even be an option, regardless of what kinds of OSHA violations they can be nailed with.

You say she doesn't have any "marketable job skills"? I highly doubt that's true. Everybody has some sort of skillset that they can bring to another employer - even if it's just "I'm smart and talented." Getting a job is all about who you know these days. Help her network and ask friends/acquaintences if they know of any openings. Something will come along for her eventually.
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:59 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Originally Posted by Bob Ducca View Post
<snip>

You say she doesn't have any "marketable job skills"? I highly doubt that's true. Everybody has some sort of skillset that they can bring to another employer - even if it's just "I'm smart and talented." Getting a job is all about who you know these days. Help her network and ask friends/acquaintences if they know of any openings. Something will come along for her eventually.
That's right, too - since she's running the place, that's LOTS of transferrable skills.
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  #7  
Old 08-02-2011, 01:01 PM
GrandWino GrandWino is offline
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Oh, and once she's finally out of that place - have Rap Master Maurice call up the dickweed boss with a custom revenge rap. It'll be worth the $17.
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  #8  
Old 08-02-2011, 01:01 PM
El_Kabong El_Kabong is offline
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Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post
So why does she stick around? Well, she's a very smart and talented woman, but she doesn't have much in the way of marketable job skills.
Huh? Just below the quoted bit, you state that she "runs the entire company by herself". What makes you think that being able to manage the financials of an entire company results in her having "not much in the way of marketable job skills?"

Quote:
We have to think fast, because she's pretty sure he's going to get rid of her at the end of the busy season.
Huh? again. If she's sure she's going to get laid off, then it sounds like what she should be doing is looking for another job now. If the guy is so sure she's expendable, let him run things on his own.

Note: I despise abusive bosses. No one has to put up with abuse, even in a tight job market. She would be doing herself a favor to start asserting herself, even if she ends up getting fired for her trouble.

Last edited by El_Kabong; 08-02-2011 at 01:02 PM..
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  #9  
Old 08-02-2011, 01:14 PM
GrandWino GrandWino is offline
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Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
That's right, too - since she's running the place, that's LOTS of transferrable skills.
I'll give the OP's girlfriend the benefit of the doubt on this one, but in my experience - people who think they're "running the place" are usually overestimating their value to a company.

There's an old saying that I've always found to be true: "The moment you believe you aren't expendable... you are."
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Old 08-02-2011, 01:21 PM
Agent Foxtrot Agent Foxtrot is offline
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On the job skills thing: she doesn't have a lot of confidence and doesn't sell herself very well in interviews. Oftentimes, she'll underrate herself to a prospective employer. She also does not negotiate salaries, taking the first offer given to her. It's been very damaging to her because she's a lot better than she thinks she is.
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  #11  
Old 08-02-2011, 01:24 PM
redtail23 redtail23 is offline
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First, definitely make sure she's documenting the hell out of everything. Including photos, tape recordings (if legal in your area), notes, etc.

If she gets fired or quits, she can use that evidence to file for unemployment. She can also use if, if she wants, to file a lawsuit.

Anything else is up to her. What I can tell you from my personal experience is that she needs to grow a spine and stand up to him. Whether or not she can manage that? Up to her. I'm guessing she's fairly young (say mid-twenties or less)?

If it were me (which it wouldn't be, because I wouldn't have put up with his crap from the beginning so he wouldn't be doing it), I'd be talking to an employment lawyer already. She needs to file the worker's comp claim and get her ankle fixed. She should report him to OSHA, EEOC, and the state labor board for his other illegal practices.

Generally, standing up to assholes pays off. Usually they'll back down rather than risk their own comfort. Who's going to run the place if he fires her?

And even when they don't, it's worth it. No amount of money is worth feeling like shit about yourself.

For example, I'd recommend starting small. Don't try to create some giant Armageddon, just pick something and quit putting up with his shit. Turn on the damn fan and tell him to get over it (politely, of course). Or order a new, quieter fan and use that. If he wants to create a giant scene, that's up to him. But I'd bet you money that if she just stood up to him, he'd back down.

And if he doesn't? That's what all that documentation is for. Sue the shit out of him. "At will" does not mean you have to put up with illegal abuse. At least not yet, thank unions.

Perhaps you should get her into some counseling/therapy to deal with her issues first? While she's documenting things, of course.
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  #12  
Old 08-02-2011, 01:53 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Originally Posted by Bob Ducca View Post
I'll give the OP's girlfriend the benefit of the doubt on this one, but in my experience - people who think they're "running the place" are usually overestimating their value to a company.

There's an old saying that I've always found to be true: "The moment you believe you aren't expendable... you are."
True enough, but if your boss spends most days in the bar, chances are you ARE running the place.
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Old 08-02-2011, 01:56 PM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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Originally Posted by Bob Ducca View Post
Follow up question, does she at least get free sno-cones and ice cream?
They melt really fast, though.

AT, I think you know what her options are, and what the possible consequences are with each one. Only she can decide which one is least troubling to her.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:21 PM
Agent Foxtrot Agent Foxtrot is offline
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They melt really fast, though.

AT, I think you know what her options are, and what the possible consequences are with each one. Only she can decide which one is least troubling to her.
I greatly appreciate the reply, but I am not Argent Towers.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:52 PM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post
I greatly appreciate the reply, but I am not Argent Towers.
I'm so sorry.

Good luck to her in working this out. I realize that my previous reply sounded more dismissive than I meant it to. It sounds like an awful bind to be in, and I guess my point was that unfortunately, there probably isn't any good solution.
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Old 08-02-2011, 03:14 PM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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... Every day, she comes home exhausted, near the point of tears, and wants nothing but a shower and a long nap. Her job has caused her severe depression (which she is now on meds for), anxiety, sleeplessness, and nightmares.
Not sure what she's being paid, but I doubt it's worth ALL THAT.


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Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post
Here's just a snippet of the things her boss (the owner) subjects her to:
[*]<snip> a whole bunch of absolute crap </snip>. One of the pallets fell on her Achilles' tendon, causing her a lot of pain and some scarring. She's too scared to file a worker's comp. claim....
Ok, lemme start here. "Scared" of what, exactly? Has she been able to articulate her fears to you? Is it just a general apathy towards the PITAedness of it? I mean, people file worker's comp every day - it's not a sunny day in a meadow, but it's not like passing a kidney stone either.

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Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post
We have to think fast, because she's pretty sure he's going to get rid of her at the end of the busy season.
Frankly, it sounds like the problem will solve itself. If so - this is what unemployment comp is for. However, if she was able to pull together even a smidgen of cojones, any employment lawyer would be thrilled to take this case.

Document. Document. Document. Even if she ultimately does nothing with it.
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  #17  
Old 08-02-2011, 03:19 PM
Rigamarole Rigamarole is offline
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However, if she was able to pull together even a smidgen of cojones, any employment lawyer would be thrilled to take this case.
I agree, your gf is lacking in testicular fortitude. You have to pump her up!

Last edited by Rigamarole; 08-02-2011 at 03:23 PM..
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  #18  
Old 08-02-2011, 03:35 PM
PunditLisa PunditLisa is offline
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As everyone knows, the U.S. has been going through a serious heat wave. Baltimore has not had a day below 100F for a month. She works in a tiny un-air-conditioned office (cashiering is one of her duties) in the warehouse. The boss won't let her turn on the warehouse fan because it's "too loud", even though he spends most of his time locked in his air-conditioned office.
You can't build Rome in a day, but you can buy her a portable fan. Or, better yet, a personal air conditioner.

http://www.air-n-water.com/product/APC2000E.htm
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  #19  
Old 08-02-2011, 03:37 PM
Incubus Incubus is offline
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Not familiar with Maryland Law, but in California they have to excuse you for doctor's appointments, physical therapy, etc if you have been employed full-time for a year.

She needs to look for another job. She needs to look for places to move if she loses her current job for any reason. Hate to say it, but she is putting herself in a position where she is absolutely miserable. Her boss is a dick, absolutely, but she needs to learn how to be more assertive.

Once she has options, things will get better. In separate times, myself and my fiancee were in similar situations as your girlfriend. What did we do? Looked everywhere for another job. Eventually the bullshit exceeds the inconvenience of a job that pays less.
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Old 08-02-2011, 04:50 PM
kittenblue kittenblue is offline
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I hope she's turning on the fan the second he heads out the door for the bar.

Really, there is nothing she can do to change this situation. She can't make the man change his basic personality. All she can do is start looking for another job, despite her depression, despite her timidity. She's going to be out of a job soon anyhow and have to do it then with no money coming in, so she may as well start tomorrow. If the customers like her, she should start asking if any of their companies are hiring.
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  #21  
Old 08-02-2011, 05:30 PM
Roderick Femm Roderick Femm is offline
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Really, tales like this make me tired. "Oh, my poor, long-suffering girlfriend is being mis-treated by bullies at her job. I should go after them with a tire-iron." Really? That's your solution? Did I trip into a time-warp and end up in the 50's?

She needs to grow a pair and handle it herself. You can and should be supportive, of course, but in this day and age there is no excuse for any woman in this country to put up with that kind of behavior from anyone.

Life isn't fair. She'd better be able to stand up for herself, or learn how, or she is going to be a doormat forever.

[\tough love]


Roddy

p.s. I thought long and hard about posting this; these things are easy for me to say, I've never been a petite and physically vulnerable woman. I have been (briefly, in high school) the victim of bullying and it ended when I stopped letting it scare me. You can probably help her move in that direction, if you have a mind to do so. I don't think you stepping in for her is going to help her at all, it will just enable her to stay weak and vulnerable.
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  #22  
Old 08-02-2011, 05:44 PM
Manda JO Manda JO is online now
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You say that "She can't work for any less or she wouldn't be able to afford the rent where I live or her car note." Do you mean that paying half the rent on the place you've chosen is higher than what she can afford unless she continues to work there?

Then what you can do is offer to either take over part of the rent (perhaps with both of you contributing an equal % of your incomes, instead of an equal portion of the rent) or offer to move with her to a cheaper place that will leave her with more options.

I don't know the status of your relationship, but if you may be reaching the point where you need to decide if she's a girl you really like or if the two of you are a family now. There's not a right or a wrong there, but it really makes a difference about what you should do and what your responsibilities are.
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  #23  
Old 08-02-2011, 05:51 PM
LurkerInNJ LurkerInNJ is offline
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Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
any employment lawyer would be thrilled to take this case.
Why would that be?

Employers aren't mandated to be nice.
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  #24  
Old 08-02-2011, 06:02 PM
Two Many Cats Two Many Cats is offline
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Why would that be?

Employers aren't mandated to be nice.
If she can prove that he belittles her and encourages other employees to mistreat her because she's the only woman in the company, as the OP has posted, she's got a viable sex discrimination lawsuit in the making.
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  #25  
Old 08-02-2011, 06:20 PM
LurkerInNJ LurkerInNJ is offline
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If she can prove that he belittles her and encourages other employees to mistreat her because she's the only woman in the company, as the OP has posted, she's got a viable sex discrimination lawsuit in the making.
Key words "if she can prove". The op said the boss "allows the other employees to ridicule and mistreat her", not that he encourages them to do it, and not that it's because she is the only woman as his or their reason for doing it.

You think those other three employees are going to be lining up to help her if they really are the kind of people who ridicule and mistreat others?

From the op's description, she has no backbone and is unable to fend for herself or stick up for herself in even the smallest of ways. Maltreatment has a way of trickling down unless you put your foot down.

If my boss told me to work sans fan in 100 degree heat, my response would be "would you like me to work today or not?".
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:30 PM
Two Many Cats Two Many Cats is offline
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Key words "if she can prove". The op said the boss "allows the other employees to ridicule and mistreat her", not that he encourages them to do it, and not that it's because she is the only woman as his or their reason for doing it.
I agree that this would be difficult to prove legally, but the OP stated that the boss calls her things like "stupid", "weak", "slow" and here's the kicker: "a useless woman". The OP did say the boss "allows" the other workers to mistreat and abuse her, but it's my guess they feel justified in doing it by watching him. I say that's encouragement, because employees tend to follow their boss' lead.

But proving all this in court would be difficult, especially with the dismissal of the sex discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart recently being a harbinger of the times.

Last edited by Two Many Cats; 08-02-2011 at 09:30 PM..
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  #27  
Old 08-03-2011, 12:27 AM
Rachellelogram Rachellelogram is offline
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She doesn't need his permission to file a workers comp claim, but she DOES need to report the injury in a timely manner. It doesn't have to be a big deal. Just mention to him at the end of the day "Oh by the way, one of the pallets on the wall fell, and it hit my ankle. It's pretty sore, and I think I should get it checked out." If he doesn't volunteer to take an incident report or offer to send her to the doc on the company dime, she can file a claim through the state and they'll handle it from there. They notify the company, the company files a claim, and it's taken care of.

I've taken many a late-reported claim from business owners who should have called us the day of or after an injury happened, and gently but firmly reminded them that there can be fines imposed by their state work comp board for failure to report injuries in a timely manner. However, this only applies to injuries that a worker promptly reports to the company. He can't do something about an injury he doesn't know exists. And I know of at least one legitimate claim that was denied because an employee waited more than 30 days to bring it to their boss's attention.

I've also taken some claims from bully employers who loudly proclaim their "spotless" claims history, and take the fact that an employee is reporting an injury as a personal insult. It's unfortunate that employers like this exist, but there are ways around it. Your ladyfriend needs to start polishing her resume, and take a self-esteem class or something.
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  #28  
Old 08-03-2011, 04:20 AM
rekkah rekkah is offline
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On the job skills thing: she doesn't have a lot of confidence and doesn't sell herself very well in interviews. Oftentimes, she'll underrate herself to a prospective employer. She also does not negotiate salaries, taking the first offer given to her. It's been very damaging to her because she's a lot better than she thinks she is.
It sounds like some coaching on interview skills and salary negotiation would be a really good start. I can't recommend any, but surely there must be books on this you could read with her and help her practice.

Ultimately, she's going to get to a crisis one way or the other - either he'll fire her or she'll reach the end of her tether. You can't solve this for her, but you can encourage her and help her get the skills to solve it herself. If she really can't get a job paying at that level then you and she will have to make some tough choices about whether you can chip in to help or whether she needs to move somewhere cheaper (whether that's a houseshare or a cheaper area).
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  #29  
Old 08-03-2011, 04:40 AM
AK84 AK84 is offline
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AT I really hope that I never have you as an SO.

You have said that she has suffered ill health because of this job; and she is now on meds and your solution is a to theaten the boss with a tire iron?

Repeat after me; no job is worth your health. If something happens to a person; professionally s/he can always be replaced; it is not the case for a family.

Cajole, bribe, reason, counsel advice her to quit. Its not worth her health and her sanity.
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  #30  
Old 08-03-2011, 08:29 AM
Agent Foxtrot Agent Foxtrot is offline
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AT I really hope that I never have you as an SO.

You have said that she has suffered ill health because of this job; and she is now on meds and your solution is a to theaten the boss with a tire iron?
First, as I mentioned upthread, I am not Argent Towers. I am Agent Foxtrot. I've been here a lot longer than he, but his reputation has caused people to think I'm him when they merely glance at my username.

Second, I really don't understand why you're saying what you're saying in the quote. Perhaps my reading comprehension skills need a little polishing, but help me out here.
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  #31  
Old 08-03-2011, 08:48 AM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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Originally Posted by LurkerInNJ View Post
Why would that be?

Employers aren't mandated to be nice.
They are, however, mandated to follow OSHA regulations, for starters.
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  #32  
Old 08-03-2011, 08:51 AM
Scuba_Ben Scuba_Ben is offline
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She should be documenting every single OSHA violation and promptly reporting each one.
She should be documenting every single incident of probable sexual harassment and promptly reporting each one.
She should leave that job immediately. No job is worth the impact on physical health (100 degrees and no fan?) or mental health that the OP reports.

More than that, AF you say your SO sells herself short. The longer she stays in this job the worse that'll be for her next job. Please consider that point.
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  #33  
Old 08-03-2011, 08:55 AM
Scuba_Ben Scuba_Ben is offline
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Bonus from OSHA:
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If there is an emergency or the hazard is immediately life-threatening, call your local OSHA Regional or Area Office or 1-800-321-OSHA.
In my nonprofessional opinion, a warehouse with neither air conditioning nor fan presents a proximate danger to employees' health. The link above also includes that refusing to work due to a proximate safety hazard is protected by the OSHA law.

Good luck with all of this.
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  #34  
Old 08-03-2011, 09:06 AM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is online now
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As Scuba Ben just said, she needs to go to OSHA immediately and report all these violations. She then should quit the job. Furthermore, she (and you) have other issues. A woman who allows men to push her around in a work situation has problems and needs psychological help. A man like you whose first reaction to being told that his girlfriend is being mistreated by someone else is to want to beat up that person also has problems. You need some psychological help yourself. Your girlfriend is being mistreated by someone and you've decided that she's not capable of helping herself in this situation. You think that a woman is incapable of helping herself and the only resource for her is to find another man who can solve the problem. She needs to be more independent and you need to be less controlling.
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  #35  
Old 08-03-2011, 09:06 AM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roderick Femm View Post
Really, tales like this make me tired. "Oh, my poor, long-suffering girlfriend is being mis-treated by bullies at her job. I should go after them with a tire-iron." Really? That's your solution? Did I trip into a time-warp and end up in the 50's?

She needs to grow a pair and handle it herself. You can and should be supportive, of course, but in this day and age there is no excuse for any woman in this country to put up with that kind of behavior from anyone.

Life isn't fair. She'd better be able to stand up for herself, or learn how, or she is going to be a doormat forever.

[\tough love]


Roddy

p.s. I thought long and hard about posting this; these things are easy for me to say, I've never been a petite and physically vulnerable woman. I have been (briefly, in high school) the victim of bullying and it ended when I stopped letting it scare me. You can probably help her move in that direction, if you have a mind to do so. I don't think you stepping in for her is going to help her at all, it will just enable her to stay weak and vulnerable.
I AM a (semi-) petite and physically vulnerable woman, and I wholeheartedly endorse your post. Both the part about going straight to a goddamn tire iron AND the part about learning to start standing up for herself.
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  #36  
Old 08-03-2011, 09:25 AM
GrandWino GrandWino is offline
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AF - How old is your g/f? I ask because I'm curious about how long she's been in the workforce. I get the impression that she's fairly young and inexperienced, but if she's older and in the situation you describe it definitely makes the situation look different.
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  #37  
Old 08-03-2011, 10:25 AM
Agent Foxtrot Agent Foxtrot is offline
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I think you all are focusing on the tire iron comment a little too heavily. I'm not a violent person. If a man in a position of authority was devaluing your significant other and putting her in danger daily, I'm sure you'd feel the same way. Hell, I've read a ton of posts on these boards about men physically standing up for their girlfriends, wives, or children.
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  #38  
Old 08-03-2011, 10:32 AM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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If she's really in danger daily, then she can bring some serious legal shit to rain down on this guy's head. It wouldn't be all that mentally or emotionally taxing for her either - I imagine the lawyer would do most of the work. (Since, y'know, that's how they earn those big bucks.)
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  #39  
Old 08-03-2011, 10:33 AM
redtail23 redtail23 is offline
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What about the other 90% of the comments?

There really is no solution for this that can come from you. You can support her, encourage her, whatever.

But until she grows up and grows a spine, people will treat her like trash. It happens all the time. This will not be the last time she has this problem, if she does not fix her own issues.

This is a very common problem with younger women. Some of them get over it. Some never do.

It's all up to her.
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  #40  
Old 08-03-2011, 10:34 AM
Kevbo Kevbo is offline
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IME the key is not to stop being afraid, it is to stop letting the fear dictate your actions, or lack thereof. "I'm afraid" doesn't mean you can't do what needs doing anyway. This message brought to you by Powdermilk Biscuits.
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  #41  
Old 08-03-2011, 10:36 AM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post
If a man in a position of authority was devaluing your significant other and putting her in danger daily, I'm sure you'd feel the same way.
Actually, if my SO were in a situation like that I'd wonder why the fuck she tolerated the very first abuse.
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  #42  
Old 08-03-2011, 10:36 AM
Scuba_Ben Scuba_Ben is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post
I think you all are focusing on the tire iron comment a little too heavily. I'm not a violent person. If a man in a position of authority was devaluing your significant other and putting her in danger daily, I'm sure you'd feel the same way. Hell, I've read a ton of posts on these boards about men physically standing up for their girlfriends, wives, or children.
I'm avoiding the tire iron comment. (FWIW, I think a tire iron would be useful here, but it's got to have no connection to you or your GF.)

Now about the toxic job environment and the rampant violations of OSHA and harassment laws. What say you?
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  #43  
Old 08-03-2011, 11:11 AM
velveeta velveeta is offline
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As a 5'1" petite woman in a male dominated field, I have been maliciously belittled and sexually harassed by various people. You can bet your ass I went after each one of them. (Legally. Not with a tire iron.)
There comes a time when you have to stand up and stop putting up with shit - or quit.

Last edited by velveeta; 08-03-2011 at 11:15 AM..
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  #44  
Old 08-03-2011, 11:14 AM
Manda JO Manda JO is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post
I think you all are focusing on the tire iron comment a little too heavily. I'm not a violent person. If a man in a position of authority was devaluing your significant other and putting her in danger daily, I'm sure you'd feel the same way. Hell, I've read a ton of posts on these boards about men physically standing up for their girlfriends, wives, or children.
No, I'd contribute more to his financial obligations so that he could pursue other options. She might have to take a lower-paying job for a while in order to work her way up, or perhaps work part time while going to school to learn new skills. That's the sort of thing you could really help each other with. And I'd say exactly the same thing if the genders were reversed: my parents both supported each other through risky career moves at different points, and my own husband is going to quit his job and be a SAHD when this baby is born.
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  #45  
Old 08-03-2011, 11:25 AM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velveeta View Post
As a 5'1" petite woman in a male dominated field, I have been maliciously belittled and sexually harassed by various people. You can bet your ass I went after each one of them. (Legally. Not with a tire iron.)
There comes a time when you have to stand up and stop putting up with shit - or quit.
Would you (or any other Doper who's done the same) be willing to start a thread telling us about your experience fighting harassment via the legal system? I don't know how much you *can* talk about it (legal constraints and all) but if you can, I think a lot of us could benefit knowing how the process goes and how it all worked out for you in the end.

(Including the OP's girlfriend.)
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  #46  
Old 08-03-2011, 12:15 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post
I think you all are focusing on the tire iron comment a little too heavily. I'm not a violent person. If a man in a position of authority was devaluing your significant other and putting her in danger daily, I'm sure you'd feel the same way. Hell, I've read a ton of posts on these boards about men physically standing up for their girlfriends, wives, or children.
I get what you're saying. It's always frustrating when you can't fight a loved one's battles for them.
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  #47  
Old 08-03-2011, 12:21 PM
velveeta velveeta is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
Would you (or any other Doper who's done the same) be willing to start a thread telling us about your experience fighting harassment via the legal system? I don't know how much you *can* talk about it (legal constraints and all) but if you can, I think a lot of us could benefit knowing how the process goes and how it all worked out for you in the end.

(Including the OP's girlfriend.)
I don't really want to get too much into it for privacy reasons. I will say document, document, document.
Remember that HR is not your friend - N/A in the case of the OP's girlfriend - but if you have documentation, they can't weasel as much. Maybe I've just had bad experiences with HR, but in my case, they actively tried to protect the guy because admitting that this guy had all these complaints against him would "make the company look bad".
Just standing up to some people will make them stop. My two biggest offenders (each with multiple complaints from other women) got the big guns - in one case an EEO complaint as well as HR. They were both in positions of power, and it ended poorly for both of them.

BTW, I just want to add that I am one of the least vindictive people you'd ever meet. I put up with a lot of shit before I finally said "enough". It can be an ugly, degrading process and I really wish I could have avoided it.

Last edited by velveeta; 08-03-2011 at 12:24 PM..
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  #48  
Old 08-03-2011, 02:47 PM
raspberry hunter raspberry hunter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post
I think you all are focusing on the tire iron comment a little too heavily. I'm not a violent person. If a man in a position of authority was devaluing your significant other and putting her in danger daily, I'm sure you'd feel the same way. Hell, I've read a ton of posts on these boards about men physically standing up for their girlfriends, wives, or children.
No, it's true. I know what you mean.

But I think what people here are saying is that it's not a question here of physically standing up for her. It's a question of standing up for her standing up for herself. You can encourage her and support her and work out with her ways to help her -- if she is habitually bad at interviewing and short-selling herself, maybe she needs to take a class in public speaking, or maybe she needs to practice interviewing and negotiating with you playing the employer part. (I mentioned in a thread a couple weeks ago that my husband is helping me with my presentation skills, the lack of which have been holding me back at work.) And as Manda JO pointed out, you can certainly work out with her ways to ease the financial burden so that she has a little more flexibility in finding work.
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  #49  
Old 08-03-2011, 03:05 PM
elbows elbows is offline
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You may indeed have read threads of people standing up for their spouses, etc. At the bar, on the street, at family functions. But not going into their place of business to do so. Are you serious?

Quote:
On the job skills thing: she doesn't have a lot of confidence and doesn't sell herself very well in interviews. Oftentimes, she'll underrate herself to a prospective employer. She also does not negotiate salaries, taking the first offer given to her. It's been very damaging to her because she's a lot better than she thinks she is.
Sounds like the boss has a better handle on who she really is, (a shy mouse too timid to do other than just keep taking whatever he dishes out), than you do.

You really want to help her? Buy her a damn fan for her office!

Then, take a great big bite of reality. She's not going to change her nature and become a strong willed, stand up for herself, kind of gal, just because you think she's got it in her.

She's taking this crap and it's making her sick, so sick she's on meds, but she keeps going into work and is afraid to book a day off. This is a life lesson she has to learn on her own, you can't help her, truly. It's all on her.

You really do teach people how to treat you, and her boss has learned well. He'll keep dishing it out as long as she's willing to suck it up, I predict.

No fat pay cheque is worth your health. Some of us know that intuitively, and some have to learn it the hard way.
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  #50  
Old 08-03-2011, 03:07 PM
appleciders appleciders is offline
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Originally Posted by Bob Ducca View Post
Curious because of the small size of this company... Is there a minimum number of employees a business has to have in order to have OSHA guidelines enforced?

Follow up question, does she at least get free sno-cones and ice cream?

Basically, all you can do is help support her in finding a new job. Staying at that place shouldn't even be an option, regardless of what kinds of OSHA violations they can be nailed with.

You say she doesn't have any "marketable job skills"? I highly doubt that's true. Everybody has some sort of skillset that they can bring to another employer - even if it's just "I'm smart and talented." Getting a job is all about who you know these days. Help her network and ask friends/acquaintences if they know of any openings. Something will come along for her eventually.
In many states, OSHA has an anonymous tip line. I had to look into this recently, because my jackass former boss was in blatant violation on several counts.
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