Q: I work in the restaurant industry. My boss has been extremely rude and vulgar to myself and my coworkers.
He has had some of my coworkers clean black mold, deep clean carpets for hours on end, worked construction within the restaurant in front of us. He drinks to the point where he is drunk and yells and screams at us consistently. Tonight he yelled at me for refusing to do another’s job when I was only making $5.12 /hr as a server after all my side work had been done. He told me to quit. Word for word, he said “if you don’t want to help everyone else you should quit then” while being profusely drunk. I feel mistreated. I have been here for over 6 years; however, my boss as well as other management has taken advantage of me by forcing me to do more work than I am being paid. Do I qualify for unemployment due to this? Can I get a lawyer to sue for my mental health at work? I would also like to note I have a history of thyroid cancer, which my manager and boss know of. I feel anxious and sick going into work now. I need help, I don’t know what to do.
A: I'm very sorry to learn of your allegations and wish you good health. This is a matter that probably not just affects you but also your fellow employees. If this was happening in Pennsylvania, where I practice, I would immediately suggest that the employees band together with their grievances and seek to hire lawyers that practice in employment law because at the very least there seems to be a hostile culture (and I don't even know if, for example, he is rudder to the women than to the men, or to the people of color than to the white people). It also would seem that an unemployment compensation lawyer could help as this situation you describe, again if it were happening in Pennsylvania, would probably allow you to quit because it is intolerable. So, I would definitely hope that you and your colleagues can get together and find a local lawyer in those fields to help.
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