Need help about unfair labor practice

Hi! I don’t know whom to talk with about my problem at work and I was wondering if anyone here can help me.

I think I’m a victim of unfair labor practice which resulted in a lost of a day’s wage. On first day of work the manager told me to buy safety shoes. I read in the Employee Handbook that Employees should ideally wear safety shoes and athletic shoes are permitted. Open toed or open heeled shoes or boots are not permitted. On my fourth day of work, I was told by my supervisor to buy safety shoes for tomorrow. I tried to look for my size and did not find one. On the next day he waited for me at the door and sent me home for not wearing safety shoes. I called the district manager and told me that he can do that. This resulted in a lost of a day’s wage.

So the next day I told my boss about what is written in the Employee Handbook and he just laugh and told me that it was recently changed ( the handbook says effective July 1 2010), and when I asked for a memorandum for that change he can’t show me any and he just laughed and changed the subject. Also before this incident he calls my name as IF I am making mistakes, like calling children when they make mistakes and you want them to stop what ever wrong their are doing.

So I called the Dep’t of Labor and told me that the supervisor can fire me on the spot for not following orders even if the hand book says that I am allowed to wear athletic shoes.

What do you guys think, is it fair? I need to know so that I can defend myself next time. By the way we don’t have a union that can handle this kind of situation, so I am on my own.

I am an attorney and here is the best advice I can give you:

  1. If you haven’t already done so, go buy safety shoes;
  2. From now on, follow your supervisors direction the first time unless he calls for you to do something illegal or immoral.
  3. Keep your head down, your eyes open, don’t complain, and do your job.

You have no case.

Why would the Company put that athletic shoes are permitted if it will result in a disciplinary action?

Also I forgot to mention that another employee was allowed to come in even in athletic shoes because she ordered her safety shoes online.

I already have my safety shoes I just spent half a day looking for the right size. I am not a person who complains I just don’t like what seems to be unfair treatment of people.

I was a supervisor for 15 years. My take on his standpoint is you wasted three days in the beginning, and now you want extra time? It looks like you are challenging his authority. As the attorney said, do what you are asked unless it is illegal or immoral.

That isn’t unfair. Their policy is to have safety shoes. If you work there, you agree to follow their policy. They didn’t force you to do anything immoral or illegal.

I’m wondering if they had some accidents where people’s feet have been injured who were wearing athletic shoes? I’m glad you got the safety shoes.

The policy may be a requirement of their insurance carrier. Regardless of that, it is for your own good. Who is the loser, if your foot is injured seriously? Long after they have forgotten with worker’s comp claim, you are still missing your toe, etc…

Don’t take the policy personally, unless you are being singled out as the only person required to wear safety shoes, which I doubt it the case. More likely, you were the only one wearing sneakers, and they gave you a few days grace period to obtain the correct footwear for the job.

There are times when you work when you may be right, but are also wrong. With the attitude you are expressing on this site, I would not be surprised if your immediate supervisor as well as his boss have you marked as a troublemaker.
That being said, you should realize that your job is in peril, and they will get rid of you at the first opportunity unless you proove them wrong- and in this economy, that is not a good position to be in.
Your best recourse is to give your bosses a little more than they pay you for. Put a smile on your face and keep you mouth shut and work harder than those around you. Then you will have a chance of survival

I did not waste those three days. It’s just hard to find a woman’s size 5. He could have directed or suggested to me to order it on line and that would have been the end of it.

I am just new in this country, and not familiar on how things work. I have not enough money to spend spend on $50+ shoes. All my clothings are from thrift stores. I am not asking for the extra time just and I was not told that it could lead to a disciplinary action, had i known, I would have asked where to get them immediately. What’s to discipline if it is permitted to wear athletic shoes?

I am not challenging his authority, and never showed it in my action or words, never even thought about it. He allowed other people to have athletic shoes who were there months before me, and I have been there only for 5 days and it already resulted in a disciplinary action?

The exact words in the Employee Handbook is this:

Employees should ideally wear safety shoes and. Open toed or open heeled shoes or boots are not permitted. Athletic shoes are permitted.

What exactly did I violated? Or what exactly did I not agree? If this is a company with union you guys know that the action of the supervisor will not be tolerated and that my action will result in a an unpaid suspension.

You said,

You said nothing about shopping for safety shoes during the intervening days. I think there is more to this story than you are telling us.

You’ve been warned already. The book is there not to trump supervisor direction, but to assist them in educating employees. If you’ve received different instructions from what is in the manual then THAT is what you are required to do. When an employee responds to reasonable direction with a lawyer imitation, that employee IS going to be labeled a trouble-maker.

Your job is to do what your supervisor tells you unless it is illegal or immoral. Arguing with him/her is just self-defeating.

I asked about that the day I got my safety shoes. He said that there were no accidents and why am I asking. When I showed him the Employee Hand book and told him (in a nice way without offending his position) that I did not violated any safety regulation or any company policies, he just laughed at me and told me that it was a recent change. When I asked for a memorandum for that change, he can’t show me any.

I told him that the hand book the the district manager gave me is just recent, effective date is July 1. 2010. He changed the subject and I noticed that he was nice to me that whole day, wherein the last four days he called my name in a very annoying tone.

I am not asking to be paid but to correct anything like that in the future. I mean to say that an effective supervisor will create a positive atmosphere in the work environment, not a negative, hostile, intimidating working environment. Supervisors and managers should and must set up their employees to succeed and not to set them up to fail.

You got your shoes, now get to work. Or are you looking to file a lawsuit?

It is a Company issued Employee Handbook. Why give the employees the choice of what to wear if the other choice will lead to a disciplinary action?

I am not even arguing for not having a safety shoes and remain using athletic shoes. I of course know that safety shoes will offer me more safety. What I am complaining about is what seems to be an unfair treatment I received. I was looking for the safety shoes, but they don’t have them available on my size. And I thought that it could also wait until i received my first pay to buy them since I am on a tight budget.

Well as matter of fact I went to the other branches and found that they are wearing sneakers. Only Management was wearing the black shoes, I don’t know if they are steeled toed shoes though.

The other person who came with me that morning I was sent home was wearing sneakers but she already ordered her’s on line and she’s been there 7 months and already passed the probationary period.

See I am just worried that I am still on my probationary period and I already received a disciplinary action.

Okay. Even though I thought this post was more than adequately answered by the attorney, it seems that I’m am free to offer my :twocents:.

Background: former union employee, proud defender of worker’s rights.

My new (non-union) job at a golf course requires steel-toed boots and hardhat (in a baseball cap style). This is a rule specific to the golf course and not required by provincial law. I comply with the rule because it is what my manager has told me to do. End of story. My personal opinion is not relevant because these are the rules of this specific job. Even though it seems silly to me, my rights as an employee are not being infringed upon.

There are many workers whose rights are truly being violated and we should focus on improving those conditions. With respect, your complaint is not one that I would fight for.

Let me see if repeating this makes it more clear to you:

what you need to understand is, it doesn’t matter. Generally (with some exceptions) an Employee Handbook is not a binding document. Direct commands from a supervisor are binding.

Can you please explain to me why an Employee Handbook issued by the Company for the guidance of its employees is not a binding document? I am not arguing with you, just trying to understand.

It seems to me that it can be likened that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is not a binding document, but the direct command of my priest is?

A lost of wage is a lost of wage, it may not matter to people who have money, but for me it matters a lot, especially when I know that I did not violate a company policy.

The Company policy say that employees should ideally wear safety shoes, open toed shoes are not permitted. ATHLETIC SHOES ARE PERMITTED.

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