Legal Question in Employment Law in Texas

I recently gave my resignation with a standard 2 wks notice. I work in a classic hostile work environment. it has gotten to the point over the last few years that 6 months ago I applied and was given FMLA intermittent leave on the advice of my doctor due to anxiety and depression.

after I gave my notice, my boss who has been the source of my problems casually asked me where I was going. I didn't think anything of it and told her. she then told me that as a going away gift, she was going to lookup who I would be working for and let them know that I was a completely unreliable person and advise them that they are making a mistake hiring me. I immediately panicked, and went home sick..

can she do this? I just wanted to leave peacefully. is there anything I can do to stop her?

Asked on 7/18/13, 4:54 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Adam Kielich The Kielich Law Firm
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I would want to know more information about what you have termed "a classic hostile work environment". Under Texas law, there is a hostile work environment -- in its legal meaning -- when the environment is hostile to a protected status or exercise of certain employment-related legal rights. If your boss is just a jerk then there's not a lot the law protects. If you are suffering under a hostile work environment in its legal definition then there may be some options available to take action against the company for prior and future acts.

There's nothing in Texas that prohibits a former employer or manager from giving a current or future employer information about your employment, even if that information is negative. However, most employers do not do that for fear of the legal repercussions of giving a falsely negative review. It's even more rare that a former employer or manager would go out of their way to volunteer negative information--true or not--to a future employer for the same reason.

I'm not sure how your supervisor would find who you are going to work for but I guess with all the social media and contact you may have with your current co-workers after you leave it is not impossible for her to find out at some point. Whether a future employer would take it seriously is questionable, too.

Have you spoken with HR about that? They may be willing to take action to stop your boss. If not, you could always have a lawyer send a threatening letter to HR informing them of your manager's threat and the legal repercussions should she do that and something happen to your future job. If that's something you're interested in pursuing I could certainly do that for you at a reasonable rate.

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7/18/13, 8:40 pm

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