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Retaliation for reporting sleeping coworker

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#1 workerbee2012


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Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:26 PM

I could use some employment advice. I work for a large private company in California in a professional office environment. A coworker next cubicle over sleeps at their desk several times a week (sometimes several times in a day), snores loudly (very distracting), does personal business on their cell phone for hours (we are hourly employees, not salary), and then puts in for overtime pay. The employee was also coming in very late and leaving early, unbeknownst to the supervisor, which resulted in the coworker's urgent tasks being reassigned to me. After casually talking to the coworker, the behavior continued, so I reported the activity to our supervisor. The supervisor made excuses for the coworker even though they have also witnessed the sleeping behavior on several occasions (as have many other employees) and there are company policies against sleeping on the job and doing personal business during work hours. Today, a few months after notifying the supervisor, the coworker is rumored to be badmouthing me to HR and my supervisor stating I exaggerated the unprofessional activity and that I'm hostile only because they are African American. I'm much older (senior), a very hard worker, and could care less about the sleeping coworker's ethnicity (our workforce is very diverse). I feel this is retaliation for reporting the misconduct. A friend said to get some photo evidence, so I now have many cell phone videos of the sleeping and snoring at it's worst (at their desk), but I've been discouraged about going over the supervisor's head and contacting HR or the hotline (history has been HR tends to protect the company, not the employees, and they don't like to get complaints). The other supervisor in the office also knows about the behavior but doesn't want to get involved because the offender is not a direct report. Any suggestions on how to move forward, or protect myself from further retaliation, short of finding another job? Are there any legal avenues available to me?

#2 knort4


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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:05 AM

Are there other coworkers who have witnessed this activity? Have you documented your complaint in writing and perhaps even asked other co-workers who witnessed this to sign along with your signature? Do you and the African American co-worker have the same supervisor? Are you alleging that the overtime pay is being claimed fraudulently? If you want to continue working there to get a pension or if you love your job, then don't rock the boat any further. However, you should consider submitting a written complaint directly to the president of the company about this. Having a co-worker lie about you to try to make you look bad is unethical, but it does not truly qualify as retaliation where you have been harmed.

#3 adjusterjack


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Posted 29 November 2012 - 09:20 AM

"I feel this is retaliation for reporting the misconduct."

But it's not illegal retaliation.

"history has been HR tends to protect the company, not the employees, and they don't like to get complaints"

You got that right.

"Any suggestions on how to move forward, or protect myself from further retaliation, short of finding another job?"


"Are there any legal avenues available to me?"


Nobody's doing anything illegal to you.

My advice: Shut up, back off, keep a low profile. This can only be a lose-lose situation for you.

Warning: Legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here are simplified and might not fully explain the ramifications of your particular issue. I am not a lawyer. I do not give legal advice. I make comments based on my knowledge and experience. I guarantee nothing. If you act on my comments without the advice of an attorney, you do so at your own risk.

#4 Guest_FindLaw_Amir_*

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 09:30 AM

To learn more about your rights as an employee, you may wish to visit the Employment Law Center as a good resource.

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