Do I have a case for discrimination?

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Latest post Thu, Feb 23 2017 5:31 PM by Taxagent. 4 replies.
  • Wed, Feb 22 2017 4:39 PM

    • parkerfly
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    Do I have a case for discrimination?

    I have been employed by my employer for over 2 years.  I started in a temporary capacity and then was given an offer for permanent employment.  When I took the position it was with a verbal agreement of my promotion potential to a Supervisory position.  Very shortly after accepting the employment offer our department was transfered under another Director.  At this point I was told any verbal agreements with prior managers were off the table.  In the two years since, I have not had a positive experience.  To make a very long story short here are the high points (for reference I live in the state of Hawaii):
    - As a temporary employee, I was asked by a coworker to write a letter to HR backing her up on some shady dealings in the office.  I wasn't sure if it was appropriate since I was not an employee, but HR assured me it was okay.  I found out that my letter was copied and distributed to higher-ups who didn't much like what I had to say.  I was told my letter put me at risk for not receiving the permanent position because they did not appreciate the letter.  Although they ended up getting over this after I reminded that reports to HR are not supposed to be used against employees.  
    - Had a director verbally harass/threaten me on multiple occasions over the course of months about my lack of education (I am college educated but am less than a semester short of a BA, I was told without a diploma any college experience I have does not count)
    - Was essentially acting as the Supervisor of the office and doing much of the Supervisor role although I was not getting paid for it and I wasn't allowed to call myself the Supervisor because I was told there would be "policitcal backlash."
    - Same director had an inappropriate conversation with me about my husband's military status where she proceeded to tell me that due to his active duty status I had no future with the company (This is illegal in the state of Hawaii). When I went to our HR for advice on whether to report the above conversation to the state, I was told that HR would investigate which only amounted to them telling my director that I might report her to the state which led to another inappropriate converstation where my director attempted to convince me the original conversation never happened and where she non-verbally threatened me by revealing a file she had on me that was over an inch thick. I was eventually told by HR that my report would not count unless I submitted it in writing.  I did not report the incident to the state due to fear of retaliation and did not submit anything written over what happened the last time I put something into writing for HR. 
    - Same director retaliated against me anyway by having me removed from my private office and made to work out in the open office at a makeshift workstation and took away all of the special projects that I was working on and reassigned them to a co-worker.  I was denied any professional development to learn a key aspect of my job that I had yet to be taught how to do.  I was told that the company was not going to invest money into a military spouse who may be gone in a year but was welcome to attend any free training - which almost none exists.
    - The company hired another employee into the position that I was verbally promised to upon employment.  I had to train this employee on the job despite her being my direct Supervisor.
    - This new Supervisor down graded my responsibilities in the office so that I was nothing more than a glorified Administrative Assistant.  I also had to deal with an onslaught of embarassment and questions from co-workers as to why I didn't get the job.
    - After I experienced a work injury and was out of the office for several months, upon my return I was told by my Supervisor that the office has "moved on" and that she no longer had the time to train me on the key aspect that I never had the opportunity to learn.  I was unaware until today this is illegal in Hawaii and only have 30 days to report.
    - The Supervisor position that I was promised opens up again and I apply.   In my phone interview with HR I am told that I do not meet the minimum requirement of 3 years of specific experience in order to be moved on in the hiring process.  Weeks later I learn that a coworker of mine with much less experience than myself received the position over me.  He had less than a year in his role in which I helped promote him to from an administrative secretary position.  When I met with my Manager for an explanation as to what happened with this, I was given none except a half hearted apology that they would look into it.
    - I met with HR to once again and asked why I was treated unfairly in regards to hiring in this position and again did not receive any sort of explanation at all.

    There is so much more that in the interest of time I cannot describe here but was hoping someone could give me guideance just based on what I included above whether I have any kind of legal case against my employer.  I don't want to waste a lawyer's time with the crazy story if I don't legally have a leg to stand on.  I appreciate any comments.  Mahalo!

  • Wed, Feb 22 2017 8:31 PM In reply to

    Re: Do I have a case for discrimination?

    Way way too much detail. I just skimmed over your message.

    I am not a lawyer. What I understand is that any charge of discrimination has to be due to one's race, religion, national origin (etc). Plenty of discrimination in the workplace is perfectly legal.

    Legal: "I'm demoting you because you are a New York Yankees fan."

    Illegal: "I'm demoting you because you are a Methodist."

     

     

  • Wed, Feb 22 2017 10:25 PM In reply to

    • parkerfly
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    Re: Do I have a case for discrimination?

    Yes, I apologize for the long post.  I was specifically called out on multiple occasions for my Military Spouse status.  Would I at least have a case for harassment?

  • Thu, Feb 23 2017 5:19 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Do I have a case for discrimination?

    IN some circles a military spouse is regarded as unreliable and transient and unworthy of training etc.  

    Whether or not there are sufficient dots to connect in any relevant sense for you is best addressed to skilled legal counsel as to employment matters ....perhaps husbands JAG may have useful suggestions ? 

     



  • Thu, Feb 23 2017 5:31 PM In reply to

    Re: Do I have a case for discrimination?

    parkerfly:

    Yes, I apologize for the long post.  I was specifically called out on multiple occasions for my Military Spouse status.  Would I at least have a case for harassment?

    Federal law does not prohibit discrimination by your employer on the basis that your spouse is in the military. From what I can tell, neither does Hawaii state law. Hawaii does prohibit discrimination by an employer because of your martial status (i.e. discriminating against you because your are married, or because you single/divorced) and prohibits discrimination because of the employee’s national guard status (i.e. discrmination against you because you are a member of the national guard). You might try contacting the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission (HCRC) to discuss your situation and see if they think there might be a violation of Hawaii law.

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