As job opportunities become increasingly scarce, workforce abuse may be on the rise. With the lack of viable employment alternatives, employees may be learning to accept the unacceptable when it comes to workplace decorum.
One employee, the ex-assistant to real estate broker Jack Terzi, is suing his old boss for abusive working conditions. Albert Sultan was hired by Terzi in 2009 and quickly learned that working for the brash risk-taker was an experience he would not soon forget.
Harsh Contract Conditions and Abusive Treatment
Sultan apparently signed an employment contract requiring him to work 12 hour days, five days a week and 26 Sundays a year. No sick days and no vacation days. What got me was that Sultan would be fined $15 for every minute he was late coming into work and $30 for every minute he left early and a whopping $1,000 for Sunday shifts he did not work!
In addition to a slave-like schedule, Sultan alleges that his boss would insult him with profanity and throw shoes, scissors and even a stapler at him. As if that was not enough, he claims he was physically assaulted by Terzi and that Terzi even urinated on a piece of his clothing in front of another person once.
Do We Put Up With More in a Bad Economy?
This crazy story begs the question: In this economy are employees more likely to tolerate abuse, humiliation and harassment at the hand of their employers? Are bosses getting away with more abusive behavior because they aren't afraid of losing their workers?
There are an overwhelming number of people searching for employment while the job market is down. Potential employees are at a severe disadvantage because they are viewed as a ‘dime a dozen’. While it may be hard to land a job, workplace abuse and harsher working conditions is still not right.
Help for Workplace Abuse
When workplace abuse does happen it is important to protect your rights to the full extent of the law.
1. Signs you are being abused at work:
To determine whether you have been subject to workplace abuse click here to read a great summary from the Federal Communications Commission.
2. Factors a court will consider in hostile work environment cases:
- Frequency of the alleged inappropriate behavior.
- Severity of the behavior.
- Conduct of the victim.
- Context of the alleged harassment.
- Size of the employer's business.
- Nature of the employer's business.
- In a hostile work environment claim, whether a reasonable person in the position of the plaintiff would have thought the environment to be hostile.
3. Seek help!
Jobs are scarce but having to put up with abuse is absurd. There are Laws to protect employee abuse. Don't wait. Contact an attorney in your area today!
How many of you have experienced abuse in the workplace?
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