What to do if an unethical manager maybe breaking some laws?

UPDATED: Jan 3, 2011

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What to do if an unethical manager maybe breaking some laws?

We have a manager at work who is constantly using profound language towards employees and customers behind their backs in front of other employees. He especially abuses 1 employee verbally more then anyone else. He has us calling customers with past due bills to threaten to take them to a collections agency which I don’t think we even can, plus we never do. He has some pretty unprofessional conduct and favoritism towards 2 female employees. We get write-ups for not making our sales goal which isn’t even company policy (get 3 and your fired). Is there anything that we can do?

Asked on January 3, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

1) Profane language--either to some one's face or behind their back--may be rude, immature, and unprofessional, but it is legal.

2) If customers have past due bills, they can be sent to collections. There is a good chance it is not illegal or, indeed, even improper,  to tell people that they could be sent to collections for not paying; only if the manager was threatening or having his staff threaten something beyond his power (like having late payers jailed) or trying to extort more money out of the late payers  than they actually owe would there be a problem.

3) If you don't have employment contracts, you may be "written up," disciplined, or fired for essentially any reason. Not making sales goal is a valid reason, even if its not general company policy; as long as the company allows him to do this, the law will allow it, too.

4) Showing favoritism towards two female employees may be a violation of employment discrimination laws IF the favoritism is based on their gender or sex. If it's based on something else--e.g. one is friend's niece, the other comes from his home town--that's legal, but if it's based purely on them being women, that is not legal and may be grounds for legal action and/or a complaint to the state or federal labor department.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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