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kmcd81428

Employer obsessed with employee's personal life

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I am asking for a friend. She is a young woman who has been dating my nephew for about 3 years. Her employer of 4 years doesn't like him, and has spent an inordinate amount of time and effort trying to break them up and get her to date another young man who is also an employee. This man is considerably older than she is, and has also acted very inappropriately to her, sexually harassing her outside the workplace. This girl finally had enough of both of their actions, and two days ago gave notice, as she was becoming more and more uncomfortable at work. The employer, a woman quite a bit older than she is, flipped out. She sent her several threatening and harassing text messages on her phone, and called her early in the morning to yell at her. The employer even tried to pick a fight with the girl's mother when she was visiting from out of town yesterday.

Today, the employer allowed her to come to the business to turn in her key and collect her personal items. I accompanied her, as this woman's mental stability is very concerning, and we also had a policeman as a civil standby. He has the exchange recorded on bodycam.

This employer has spent the last few days trash-talking the girl all over our tiny (pop. 1200) town, without cause. This girl is the only employee who showed up, for all her shifts and covered several others. She was the most honest and reliable employee at the store.

We are wondering if she has any recourse for her employer taking such an obsessive and inappropriate interest in her private life. I have never seen anything like this, and I'm almost old enough to retire!

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This is important. If she had to quit due to sexual harassment she needs to file a complaint with EEOC, followed by a lawsuit if appropriate. Might even be a defamation lawsuit available.

 

If she's not willing to do that then nothing is going to be done and she can ignore what's happening and get on with her life as best as she can.

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8 hours ago, kmcd81428 said:

We are wondering if she has any recourse for her employer taking such an obsessive and inappropriate interest in her private life. I have never seen anything like this, and I'm almost old enough to retire!

 

There is no recourse for taking an obsessive interest in her private life.

 

The sexual harassment by the older man might have been a problem but the details matter. How many employees did the employer have, including her? What kind of actions did he take that she saw as sexual harassment? Where did these actions occur? The fact that they occurred outside of work may be a problem. Was he a supervisor or otherwise have some authority over her? Was he connecting his harassment with her job? And importantly, did she complain to the appropriate person in the company about his actions and ask for the company to stop it?

 

It is illegal under Colorado law for an employer to discriminate against an employee because of legal activities of the employee that take place outside of work. So she might have a good claim here for the employer harassing her over her out of work activity — her dating life outside of work. This is not a case of the employer having a policy against employees dating each other since the employer apparently would be fine with your friend dating the older employee.

 

I suggest your friend consult an attorney who litigates cases of wrongful termination in Colorado for advice on this. She might well have recourse for what happened.

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7 hours ago, Tax_Counsel said:

I suggest your friend consult an attorney who litigates cases of wrongful termination in Colorado for advice on this. She might well have recourse for what happened.

Thank you for your advice. Since she gave notice, and wasn't fired, per se, would it still be considered wrongful termination? We really think that was going to happen in the next day or so anyway. Other employees who worked on her day off have since told her that the boss spent their entire shifts ranting to them about it, and making them very uncomfortable at work.

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1 hour ago, kmcd81428 said:

Thank you for your advice. Since she gave notice, and wasn't fired, per se, would it still be considered wrongful termination? We really think that was going to happen in the next day or so anyway. Other employees who worked on her day off have since told her that the boss spent their entire shifts ranting to them about it, and making them very uncomfortable at work.

18 hours ago, adjusterjack said:

If she had to quit due to sexual harassment she needs to file a complaint with EEOC, followed by a lawsuit if appropriate.

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It wasn't the sexual harassment that she was dealing with that made her quit, that basically happened separately, months ago, and other people they knew (that were not employees of this business) told him to back off.

It was her boss inserting herself into this gal's personal life, insisting that she break up with my nephew in favor of this other employee. The girl was having panic attacks about going to work, knowing she'd spend her entire shift with her employer in her face ranting about it. It was a very inappropriate employer/employee relationship - this woman had no business whatsoever trying to control this girl's personal life.

When we went, with the police officer, to get the gal's stuff and turn in her keys, the woman seemed on the edge of some kind of mental breakdown. It was a little scary...I've seen some strange things but I've never seen anything like this! We were very glad the officer was wearing a bodycam and saw for himself how tense the situation was.

 

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I completely agree with you that the boss's behavior was inappropriate and unprofessional but if you are determined to leave the sexual harassment out of it then I don't think you've got anything actionable.

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What is the reason that the employer doesn't like the your nephew?

 

Your young woman friend needs to decide if she needs to get a restraining order against the other lady.

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Sounds like this was just a bad work environment and she is better off elsewhere. It happens. Could be that the owner has some sort of diagnosable mental condition. Could just be that she is a busy body. Either way, nothing you describe gives a clear indication there is any legal remedy.

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