Is it legal for my office manager to bad mouth me to other co-workers then threaten to not give them raises if they say anything to anyone?

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Is it legal for my office manager to bad mouth me to other co-workers then threaten to not give them raises if they say anything to anyone?

While co-workers of mine were having their performance evaluations, our office manager bad mouthed me more than she evaluated my co-workers during their meetings. Before they left her office she threatened them by saying that she could take away anything good that she would give them, like raises, bonuses, etc. if they told anyone what she had said. We are all very good friends so, of course they told me. Most of what she said is not true and I don’t know if there’s anything that I should do.

Asked on May 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unless you are under a contract that pays you regardless of what happens and unless you are part of a union that can represent you regarding such labor issues, you have a few options but you must tread lightly. First of all, employment in most states are considered at will and so you can be fired with or without cause. Further, you must also understand this can impact your unemployment compensation if this manager seems to wish to make a stink. Your friends are good friends for telling you; now what needs to occur is you need to go and speak to a labor lawyer immediately and see if your friends are willing give statements under oath on your behalf. The labor lawyer will be able to help you decide if a direct route is more appropriate and effective or one also involving the department of labor in Pennsylvania if it has jurisdiction, or the US Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).


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