Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Help Me Howard: Bossy Boss
We all have bosses -- some are nice, some are not -- but is it legal to be one of those screaming, hollering, ranting, raving bosses? What do you think? Want to be surprised? Then watch Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- Georgia's face lights up when her new granddaughter comes into the room.
Tiana makes her happy -- and then there is her job.
Georgia Young: "No, I loved the field that I was in. I loved doing what I was doing until my boss started to harass me."
Georgia is in sales, meaning she has quotas to make.
And a boss that, well, has a nice way to make sure his sales staff hits their quotas.
Georgia Young: "A bully. He would scream at you, belittle you. He was supposed to be motivating -- he was never motivating -- he was always a screamer."
Georgia says her boss had 30 employees and seemed to focus most of his berating on the female workers.
Georgia Young: "You know, he made a lot of girls cry. People would be coming out of meetings with him and really bawling -- not just crying -- bawling."
Georgia put up with it for a year because, like most people, she needed a paycheck. She says workers complained to corporate and nothing happened, and Georgia only confronted her boss once.
Georgia Young: "I asked him once, 'Why are you treating me like this? Did I do something to offend you?' He just ignored me and said, 'We need to get your numbers up.'"
Finally last week, Georgia reached her quota on tolerance, and when he started bellowing once again, she bolted.
Georgia Young: "I didn't want to start crying like the rest of the girls. I just walked to my car, got a box, put everything in there, walked back in and said, 'I can't take this anymore. He has abused me long enough.'"
After quitting, Georgia felt better. Her main regret: She waited so long to quit.
Georgia Young: "Don't wait as long as I did. People can't treat people like this, it's wrong."
It's wrong, but is it illegal? To find out, let's bring in the guy who I am sure would never scream at his employees.
Howard Finkelstein: "This really surprises most people when they hear it, but there is no law that prevents your boss from being a jerk, from screaming, from being obnoxious, and he can pick out certain employees to berate if it's for things like not hitting your quota."
I then called corporate headquarters. They were polite enough to call back and told me they didn't want to comment.
That may be because one of Georgia's former co-workers says she plans to sue their old boss, and Howard says she might be able to.
Howard Finkelstein: "While a boss can scream and holler for performance related issues, he cannot treat you differently because of things like your sex, your race or your religion. The law forbids that, and if you feel that's why you were mistreated, contact the equal employment opportunity commission."
It's all looking better now for Georgia. After quitting, she made a few calls and got quick reactions.
Georgia Young: "I was offered two jobs, so I start work on Monday."
Now she can laugh about her belligerent boss -- and, actually, she says he did do one thing for her.
Georgia Young: "I wanted to lose 10 pounds, yeah -- and I couldn't get rid of the last 10 pounds, and since this thing started I lost the last ten pounds. So I could say thank you for that."
Patrick Fraser: "At least Georgia still has her sense of humor; but when Howard explained this, I was one of those people caught by surprise, that bosses can scream and holler at everyone. Of course, if you have one of those bullies, do like Georgia and walk out. Unless, of course, you want to lose 10 pounds -- but I don't think belligerent bosses will become a very popular diet."
Screaming about a situation? Feel like you have been jobbed? Contact us. We'll work it out for you.
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