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Dealing With Dishonest and Unprofessional Boss Inspires Job Search

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Q: I have been employed for four years as a superintendent secretary for a very small school district. When I was hired, there was no superintendent. The current secretary was retiring but was upset when I was hired instead of the person she wanted, so she trained me for a day and a half and left. Eventually, a part-time (only four hours a week) superintendent was hired. The principal was also a full-time teacher, so I ran the entire school district office. I was the receptionist, file clerk, school nurse, board stenographer, payroll clerk, banking clerk, parent contact, volunteer coordinator and everything else required in creating and handling all the student records. I received no assistance.

At the end of the school year, the principal gave me an unsatisfactory evaluation. I wrote a rebuttal letter, sealed it in an envelope marked "confidential," and left it in a cubbyhole on my desk. The principal took it from my desk and opened it before I could give it to her. When I saw her the next day, she threw a letter at me with a Post-it note on the outside stating to ask all questions of the superintendent. The letter stated that my contract would not be renewed. I asked her why the contract was not being renewed and got no response. After the workday, I was shopping and ran into one of the parents in the school district. She told me the principal told her that I had quit. Nothing in my letter mentioned quitting, nor have I ever said anything about it. I was going to look for a new job anyway. I was eligible for unemployment compensation with my contract not being renewed, but now I will not be.

A: Don't tolerate this treatment. This full-time principal/teacher is unprofessional, a poor communicator with behavior problems, dishonest and most likely an incompetent administrator, which is why she left all the administrative work for you.

It may be that after four years, she wants to hire a friend for the position. Your rebuttal letter to the performance review proves that you did not quit. Take copies of all four years of your performance reviews and your rebuttal letter to the unemployment office and file your claim. If the superintendent fights the unemployment, he will have to falsify information to the government, which is not likely. Although the principal is dishonest, the superintendent may have been fed misinformation by her. If you could meet privately with the superintendent, perhaps you could enlighten him on the situation and at least get a letter of recommendation.

 

Employees Have Rights in "Employment-At-Will" States

Q: I am confused about employees' rights in "employment-at-will" states. I thought employers could fire employees for any reason except discrimination.

A: Most states are "employment-at-will," but that doesn't mean employees have no rights. Employers carry heavy liability for the work environments they create. If an employer or an employee creates a hostile work environment for another employee, that employer can be held legally responsible. Each situation has to be considered individually, which is why hiring an experienced employment lawyer is so important. A good lawyer will review the information and then decide whether to take the case.

Please send your questions to: Lindsey Novak, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. E-mail her at LindseyNovak@yahoo.com, or visit her Web site at www.LindseyNovak.com. To find out more about Lindsey Novak and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.



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