1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

ratting on fellow employees

Discussion in 'Employment, Labor, Work Issues' started by pjbjovi, Feb 22, 2004.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. pjbjovi

    pjbjovi Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Can an employer legally force an employee to write up and sign a statement against a fellow employee (for showing up to work intoxicated) under threat of their own job if they refuse? The employer claimed he needed statements from 2 non-union employees (me for one), and would not let me refuse.
    The intoxicated 11 year employee was fired the next day. :confused:
     
  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    9,171
    Likes Received:
    622
    Trophy Points:
    113

    The employer cannot tell you to lie. I'm not sure that the employer doesn't have a legitimate interest here in protecting his business and safety of other employees and would like employees that are dedicated to the job. Are you telling me that he didn't do the same with the union employees because he is afraid to use them?
     
  3. pjbjovi

    pjbjovi Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I don't know the reason for having only non-union employees sign statements, but when I told the intoxicated employee's foreman I didn't want any part of it and asked him why he couldn't do it (he's non-union), he said he wasn't going to put up with any crap from me.

    I should mention a few things here:
    This happened at the start of the overnight shift
    The intoxicated employee had not even started working yet,so there was no danger
    Also, by the time I was forced to sign the statement (~3:30am), the boss had already taken him to the hospital for tests, called me on the way back from the hospital and told me to have the statement ready and signed by the time he got back in 20 minutes.

    What if the employee decided to retaliate, I might have much more than a job to worry about.
    Also, if this is so legal, what's to stop anybody from writing up a statement about anybody they don't like, true or not?

    I just feel that my rights were violated because of something that has nothing to do with me.
     
  4. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

    Messages:
    8,486
    Likes Received:
    1,611
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Specifically what right do you feel was violated?
     
  5. Beth3

    Beth3 New Member

    Messages:
    324
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    "This happened at the start of the overnight shift. The intoxicated employee had not even started working yet,so there was no danger."

    Are you kidding? ANY intoxicated individual in the workplace - especially in a manufacturing or similar environment as you appear to be - is a safety hazard to himself and others. How do you know he wouldn't have decided to jump on a forklift (or whatever) and have a little "fun"?

    "What if the employee decided to retaliate, I might have much more than a job to worry about." Then you report that to management immediately.

    "Also, if this is so legal, what's to stop anybody from writing up a statement about anybody they don't like, true or not?" Primarily because employers don't demand that employees write false statements about one another.

    "I just feel that my rights were violated because of something that has nothing to do with me." The employer did not ask you to falsify any information. You observed the individual, he appeared to be drunk, and the employer is requiring that you to document your observations. No, your rights have not been violated even though you would prefer not to be involved.

    The basis for the decision on what to do with this guy will be made on the results of the drug and alcohol test taken at the medical facility. All it appears you're being ask to do is to verify that the supervisor had good reason to have the individual tested. Legally, that is not necessary so I presume this has something to do with the CBA or the employer attempting to head off the inevitable grievance at the pass.
     
  6. pjbjovi

    pjbjovi Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Specifically, the right to decline without having my job threatened.

    I come to work, I do my job and out of the blue, my livlihood is threatened over something that doesn't concern me.

    I didn't just happen to see this guy acting strangely. I was called into his foreman's office (where the employee was sitting on a chair) handed a paper and told write a statement and sign it, only because I am non-union. At first I said I didn't want anything to do with it. At which time he immediately picked up the phone, called the head guy of our location, got him out of bed and told him he would have to come down there because I refused to write the statement. (He has never needed to come to work in the middle of the night since I've been there - 5yrs). Then the foreman hung up the phone and said to me "Now your job is on the line."
    Then I went back to the lab and got my boss out of bed to figure out what I could do but she doesn't have any more influence around there than I do.

    I come to work and do the job - that's all they pay me for. I shouldn't have to be put in a position like this. I don't get paid to access poeple.
     
  7. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

    Messages:
    8,486
    Likes Received:
    1,611
    Trophy Points:
    113

    "the right to decline without having my job threatened"

    That's not a right you legally hold.

    You are in an at-will state. You can quit your job at any time and for any reason, and you can be fired at any time and for any reason not specifically prohibited by law. Which this is not.
     
  8. Rathi

    Rathi New Member

    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I think that is a right he has cbg.

    Most union contracts, in my experience anyway, have an agreement with management, to reprisent ALL employees, regardless if they are paying members or not. I would approach the head of the union at your facility, and see his/her thoughts on the situation.

    U may be better off to become a paying member, if they decide to take your case. Question #1 would be, did you write the statement, B. Do you have any proof that you could NOT have seen the employee in question, acting different, or strange in any manner.

    If you weren't in his work area, to witness him intoxicated, the employer has NO right to threaten your job, if you didn't witness any event.

    If you were in the work area, or spoke to the employee, it is the employer's right, that you submit a statement of what you witnessed. If you didn't see anything, that's what I would have written on the report.

    An employer does retain rights to "force" you to witness I guess, but not lie.
     
  9. NYClex

    NYClex New Member

    Messages:
    1,236
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    just think about a different scenario:

    Employee D comes to work totally drunk. Co-worker W sees that, but thinks: "This is not my business, I am not a snitch" and doesn't say anything, even when bosses ask him about this.

    A week later D again comes to work totally drunk. He operates a machine. Because he is so drunk he makes a fatal mistake in operating the machine which kills co-worker V.

    V's wife and 5 children sue W, because, if W would have spoken up, D would have been fired before the accident happened.

    Imagine you are V's wife. What do you say, should W be held liable?
     
  10. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

    Messages:
    8,486
    Likes Received:
    1,611
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Rathi, unless the union contract specifically states that no one can be forced to give evidence against another employee if they don't want to, which I think is unlikely, the poster simply does not have legal protection against refusing to make a statement about what he has witnessed.
     
  11. Rathi

    Rathi New Member

    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I agree with that. IF he didn't witness anything though, as he's said, I can't see where they can make him "testify" to things he did not witness......

    But yes, if you were around the employee at any time through that shift, you would be required to make a statement of what you witnessed. :)
     

Share This Page

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.