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Can "Discriminatory Animus"/other legal terms containing the word "Animus" be used for purpose of suing a company in EEOC case?

Fond Du Lac, WI |

I was at my job 24 years ( A new supervisor came and harassed/bullied over 5 employees who quit the 1st 3 months (I believe to clean house of higher paid workers). I hung on for 3 years and I also realized I was "protected class". I filed with the EEOC. I was finally terminated. The company did not want to pay unemployment. The Unemployment Judge ruled "Quit for Good Reason", after "2" unnecessary Unemployment Trials. I received unemployment (which I never received before). I can't find work. EEOC said they do not know what "animus" is. Isn't this a term used for discrimination over a long period of time? Are there other types of animus, like retaliation animus? I believe I suffered a long time trying to stand up and now no income. I now have PTSD diagnosed by my counselor.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer
Posted

Discriminatory animus usually refers to conduct by the employer which demonstrates discriminatory intent because the employer rarely admits that it took adverse action against an employee for discriminatory reasons. Discriminatory animus can be inferred for example through the lack of a legitimate reason for the employer's conduct.

Our firm is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and offers information on federal laws that may apply to residents of other states, however, we offer no advice as to the state laws outside of Wisconsin.

Asker

Posted

I have decided to finish the EEOC case myself. It has gone on too long (over 3 years). I have only been suffering, as have others because of this corporation's unacceptable treatment towards employees and making them quit. I am going to submit yet "another" rebuttal. I am going to tell the company I want no monitory compensation. I would like to do the right thing and forgive all who were involved against me. They will have to immediately stop this horrible abusive treatment to the employees, teach, promote, and continue to be an example to all about bullying/harassment in the workplace and how it harms a person's self-esteem, spirit, and joy. They will have to have an "iron clad" policy/ procedure written, stopping this type of behavior completely. This can only help them become more positive on how their employees are treated and gain their respect back. The company needs much help from a professional who can help them present this information and assist in writing a procedure/policy. I want those who caused the suffering of the employees to learn from this, how it actually makes people feel, and realize that they themselves can become better managers and feel good about themselves. If they do not want to agree with this, I will take have to take this publicly on and explain what is happening in an editorial or contact a news station. I have already contacted Government Officials, who are trying pass the Healthy Workplace Bill and told my story. It can only be a positive move by making the wrongs right. They will be blessed and eventually be known as a great place that works as a team. They need to become consistent promoters of the Healthy Workplace Bill and make this a mission. In October, posters about "Freedom from Bullies in the Workplace" will be displayed. Do you think this is a crazy idea?

Asker

Posted

Also, thank you for your wonderful explanation about discriminatory animus.

Alan C. Olson

Alan C. Olson

Posted

Requirement that the employer post its violation in a notice to all other employees is a common remedy requested by the EEOC.

Asker

Posted

I have never heard anything about this remedy from the EEOC Investigator.

Posted

It sounds like you're trying to handle your EEOC claim by yourself without an attorney. I suggest you contact an attorney to help you with your claims immediately. You only get one opportunity to bring these types of claims and there are strict filing deadlines that you have to meet. An attorney will know how to phrase your claims and frame your arguments in a way that will help you get the best settlement or result at trial. Most attorneys will do a first consultation for free and take a case like yours on a contingency basis, meaning they will only collect fees if you win. I'd talk to an attorney right away.

Best,
Joe Larson

This answer is for information only. It does not constitute legal advice. This answer does not constitute, nor do they create, an attorney-client relationship between Joseph A. Larson Law Firm PLLC and any receiver. This site is governed by a Site Use Agreement that you accept by reviewing these pages. The information provided on these pages is general only, and you should not act upon this information without consulting with an attorney.

Asker

Posted

I had an attorney in "part 1" of my EEOC claim. It went on so long , that there was "part 2". The lawyer needed more money, which I was unable to provide. It sounds pathetic but I cannot afford a lawyer because of this situation. I had to cash in my 401K to make the house payments, got heat assistance, and now no income because emergency unemployment is off for now. I am working through the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and they are sending me to school to get a teaching assistant certificate. I cannot find a job because I am 55 years old. The DVR said my resume is too old, working at one place too long and that they do not care what you did before that. I have worked since age 16. I am waiting for the EEOC Officer to make a decision. I offered the other party mediation, which I felt would be easier, but their attorney is very stubborn. I am stuck. I also feel like my original attorney thought I had too much paperwork for this case (I copied all of my work e-mails over to home). I am hoping to get this over soon. I believe I deserve some settlement due to the loss of money, health, attorney fees, and just plain old pain and suffering that were enhanced by the harassment/discrimination/bullying tactics. I know lawyers collect fees if you win, but they also want at least $1500 up front, which I paid in the beginning, but then my lawyer needed $1500 more. I felt my lawyer was getting stressed out from all the work and was glad to get out. I am trying to do this myself. There are at least 50 people now where I worked who quit because of bullying/harassment/threats. There were deadlines, but the EEOC Officer is giving room for the deadlines. I am just sick of the constant worry, no insurance, and going downhill money-wise. My husband is working part-time and on Social Security. We cannot even afford the Marketplace insurance unless we get rid of our life insurance. No dental care. Have to pay cash for psychiatric care and medications. I hate being in this situation because I never was before. I am used to having insurance, etc. Thank you for your comment. There are also some attorneys who do not want to take this on. I believe this is a very big thing. I want it over, but cannot give up now. I believe the contingency is usually 30%? My counselor told me to put all my paperwork away where I cannot see it. This whole situation has changed my life, but the truth always comes out in the end. Also, money is not everything. I just feel I lost a lot of money, self-esteem, and feel the only purpose I have will be to finish this thing up and move on. Even a lawyer, would probably get stressed out over all of this! Too much paperwork! Plus witnesses who already gave their statements. Thank you for your input. There are also not many attorneys close by that do this type of work. They are usually from larger cities and too far for me to drive.

Asker

Posted

I am also trying to help pass the Healthy Workplace Bill into the Healthy Workplace Law. This would stop companies from using bullying tactics against employees. I was also harassed and retaliated against. Also "protected class". I feel that bullying is so close to harassment but mostly behind closed doors, more thought out, and sneaky. I had T-shirts made and am awaiting magnets explaining the Healthy Workplace Bill becoming a law. I believe each state makes their own law. I met with our Congressman and have written to many Legislators, Senators, etc. Some European Countries have passed the Healthy Workplace Law in the 1990s. It is time for the US to join in and we should feel safe at our workplace, just as children should feel safe at school. Too many people are getting away with this "Corporate Ploys" to save money and do not care about the employees. The place I worked at was a Christian Hospital. They are building more clinics/hospitals in nearby towns saying that they have over $2,000,000,000. The President of the Company will not speak to me - even while I was working - he has an "open-door" policy. I am learning things that I never knew existed because I treat others with respect and dignity, so I was naive for a while as to what was actually happening to me in the beginning.

Posted

First of all, you need a lawyer. Many employment lawyers will at least consult with you initially without a fee. Mr. Larson is too professional to say this for himself, but, since you are in Wisconsin, and he is in Minnesota, I think you should contact him. Generally, try the website NELA.org, the website of the National Employment Lawyers Association, which should let you find someone in Wisconsin if that is preferable. Good luck.

This response creates no attorney client relationship; consult a local lawyer for help if you proceed.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your answer. I do realize I need a lawyer, but I am unable to find a lawyer who has the time, drive, knowledge to do this. Many are too busy. I need someone who understands fully the Healthy Workplace Bill too. They need to understand "protected class" and the EEOC procedures, but also have to have their full heart into it. I have to talked to many lawyers in the beginning, met with some personally. The company I worked for has their own lawyer who is very nasty, lies, is hyper, and outspoken. He even has the EEOC Investigator feeling sorry that the company I worked for has spent too much money on him concerning rebuttals. I tried to make it easy and thought mediation would be the best. The EEOC Representative told me that the company's lawyer will say no to that and that it would probably have to go to trial with witnesses, jury, etc. Many people do not want to get involved in this. I almost gave this up one time, but thought it should have an ending. I have lost a lot of money over this - probably more than their lawyer. I am getting to the point where I am getting too overwhelmed by this whole process and there is no lawyer who is willing to help me and take the time and effort. There is so much to explain also because it took place over 3 years - so there is so much paperwork. The EEOC Investigator said he will tell the other lawyer again that I simply want mediation, which would save money. The EEOC Investigator said the lawyer will probably say no to that and a trial will be the only answer. Many of those ex-employees do not want to get involved, plus I have 4 upper management women who will all lie together against me. There are no lawyers in my town who do this. It is difficult for me to drive further and I get "panic attacks" on the way. I wish there were a very high profile lawyer who could bring these things out in the open and get more awareness out there too. I was going to write an editorial to our newspaper without mentioning the company name. The lawyer the company has is wiry, a liar, hyper, and speaks out of turn. This was just for the Unemployment Trial. He also brought 3 of the 4 upper management women with him for witnesses. The trial was only supposed to take 45 minutes. He went way over the time and we had to schedule part two. For part two, I did get a lawyer as a backup. Right before the trial, my lawyer told me I would probably not get unemployment, but I did. At least the judge had sense. I am in a very hard place right now. I have tried the NELA.org website, where I chose my first lawyer. I am just wondering if I say I want a trial, that the lawyer will back down to mediation or if he is fired up enough to go through a trial - he can make more money. This corporation I worked for has a lot of money and workers. I even talked to Congressman Petri and other Government officials. I don't get anywhere. I believe I deserve what is due to me after the horrendous/disrespectful way I was treated and the thousands of dollars I lost because of this. I was an excellent worker. I trained others and always received 100% on my performance evaluations. I have letters from doctors commending me. I just do not get it.

Asker

Posted

I am starting to realize that the type of lawyer I need has to be quick with answers, fully understand my case, understand protected class, EEOC process, mediation, trial if no mediation, and basically be driven, clever, and like a pitt bull. I seem to be unable to find somewhat like that (probably because they are too busy). I feel this is a very important case considering how many people quit and my counselor is a Nun who used to be with the corporation who said this is a tactic they use to get rid of older workers, bring in younger less paid workers to save money. They try to make you "quit" in order not to pay unemployment. It is a Non-Profit Organization and I was told they can be the worse. I write to Dr. Yamada (Minding the Workplace) who is trying to get the Healthy Workplace Bill passed, which would eliminate this childish behavior in the workplace. It is very sneaky, well thought out, and they pick the right people who enjoy doing this. Almost worse than childhood bullies, which they probably were. The part that bothers me the most is the lying about my character and then the supervisor tells the other co-workers part of the story and leaves it up in the air, so that the employee wonders what happened, and then will not speak with me or looks down upon me. You also lose people you thought were your friends at work. I got along with everyone and I love to see people happy. It is so sad and disturbing to me. Upper management must take courses on how to carry this out. I even sent the President of the Company an e-mail about preparing for the Healthy Workplace Law and designing a policy for this in the future. He does not want to hear about it. I also heard this is becoming an epidemic in the US - it saves the companies money.