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Bullied by Boss - Need Help

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Bullied by Boss - Need Help

Post  sharonB on Thu Jul 01, 2010 8:56 am


hi Everyone!

OK, I was lucky enough to find a job but it has turned out to be the job from Hell. My boss and I made a verbal deal for him to buy some software from me. I brought it in and it was installed on two computers about two weeks ago. I questioned him about payment Monday and he mentioned something about the payroll is handling it. I went to payroll and asked. To make a long story short, he had a tantrum over my questioning his 'authority' with payroll and told me he didn't want my software anymore. I said fine, remove it from your computers. He said he wasn't going to. So, here is my boss, using his position to bully me out of my own property. He runs his business with fear and intimidation. I have never worked in a place so afraid of each other in my life. People are in a constant state of pins and needles. He even has 'stool pigeons' (how he found out I questioned him) working there and I am just extremely miserable.

How can I get my property back? I will be fired for this. What would be the correct way to approach this? Should I ask a lawyer? Is there one here or someone who knows how to handle this? It's pure theft in my eyes no matter the reasons and grand theft at that. Yes, there are two sides to every story, but the bottom line is I asked for my property back and I was denied and it is being used to make money for his business.

Please help??
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sharonB

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Do you have proof?

Post  Sheila on Sat Jul 03, 2010 12:41 am

Do you have proof that it is your software that is installed on the computers? Remember, most of what you see on a computer is intangible. Unless there is some sort of registration ON the computers themselves that refers to only you, I don't see how you can prove the software is yours. You also work in a "right to work state". Simply put, your boss can pretty much do what he wants with you as long as it is not physically harmful and fire you on a whim. Being "Bullied " doesn't count as abuse. Thirdly, your co-workers are NOT going to help you out, they need their jobs.

Can you afford a lawyer? If you can't and are not on welfare, chances are you won't be able to sue or state your case to anyone. In our country the only people who are allowed to be represented in a court of law are the rich, the welfare or people on trial for felonies. (A felon has more rights than you do).

I feel for you, I have had jobs like that and it sucks. Right now you need your job, especially in this economy. All you can really do is find a better job.

If you can afford a lawyer, then by all means GO FOR IT. I do get tired of "we the people" getting screwed in this country. Good luck, I mean it.

Sheila

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Re: Bullied by Boss - Need Help

Post  sharonB on Sat Jul 03, 2010 11:36 am

Thanks for the reply. I was fired Thursday over this. I am just not built to be taken advantage of or stolen from.

Since working at this place my blood pressure has risen to a dangerous level, I have had such anxiety sleep is a no-show. It was basically making me ill, both mentally and physically. Is a job worth that?

To answer your questions.....

Yes, the serials numbers for this software - Adobe CS4 Design Premium, are registered to me. It is also a student license that is illegal for commercial use. I documented this with Adobe and have contacted the Business Software Alliance. (Not sure of there standing).

I am currently collecting Medicaid and food stamps. I think that qualifies me. (I can't afford an attorney)

I do not agree with the bullying. Yes, that is against the law to do anywhere!

I still feel to take something that does not belong to you and not return it is theft. I also know that there is no way that this software will work without my license. Adobe cannot deactivate it. (I don't understand why). If someone with authority audits his computers they will find my numbers and he cannot prove ownership. I can!. I'm still researching my options.

Thank you for your input. I will hold on to your thoughts as I move forward.
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sharonB

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Re: Bullied by Boss - Need Help

Post  nancym on Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:19 pm

I don't understand completely. This software was installed, right? So unless it was installed in some special way with a password just for you, they are able to use the software, although illegally. But you don't have the original disks to use for yourself? Or copies of the disks? Do you need that particular software to use on your own? If so and you still have the serial numbers, you should be able to download a demo and activate it for yourself again. The only limit is that after too many installations, you can't keep installing the same software because of the new security limits on Adobe stuff.

However, I would be very, very, VERY careful about pursuing this legally. For them to use educational software commercially is illegal. Many companies do this with educational or hacked software even though it is illegal, and they know it. But what you did is also illegal, to sell an educational copy to a company for commercial use, or plan to use it for them commercially!

Millions of people use their software illegally, but every once in a while the software company tries to make an example out of someone in court for a ton of money. Be careful! The only way out of this I can see is if you have some documented proof that you were actually forced to supply them with that software in order to keep your job. Otherwise they could come back at you claiming they didn't know it was your software or that you were trying to make a profit by selling it to them! Or that you were just using your own academic software on their computers and they didn't know it was academic, (the situation with lots of freelancers who bring their laptops into an office).

I'm not an attorney, of course. You don't have to be on welfare to see an attorney, but it depends on just what is available in your area. Check with Legal Aid, or there are several other similar organizations that will give free legal advice, depending on the particular issue involved. I'd bet they wouldn't see you about getting your software, but they might see you about workplace intimidation that cost cost you your job.

I know the money you spent on that software seems like a fortune when you're broke, but you may just have to write this off as a lesson in dirty dealings with employers. Always get the cash up front whenever possible for any kind of expenses, unless it's a reputable company that only deals with purchase orders. Getting into a deal that (you should have known) was illegal with your boss was just setting yourself up.

I wouldn't dream of pursuing this legally without a lawyer! Was it a contract job? My guess is it was, so you can't even use it to re-apply for unemployment. But if it wasn't and you can prove you were pushed to do stuff like that, that seems like grounds for eligibility to benefits again, assuming you actually worked enough time and income to qualify.

Good luck, but again, be careful how you approach this matter.
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Re: Bullied by Boss - Need Help

Post  sharonB on Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:38 pm

nancym wrote:I don't understand completely. This software was installed, right? So unless it was installed in some special way with a password just for you, they are able to use the software, although illegally. But you don't have the original disks to use for yourself? Or copies of the disks? Do you need that particular software to use on your own? If so and you still have the serial numbers, you should be able to download a demo and activate it for yourself again. The only limit is that after too many installations, you can't keep installing the same software because of the new security limits on Adobe stuff.

However, I would be very, very, VERY careful about pursuing this legally. For them to use educational software commercially is illegal. Many companies do this with educational or hacked software even though it is illegal, and they know it. But what you did is also illegal, to sell an educational copy to a company for commercial use, or plan to use it for them commercially!

Millions of people use their software illegally, but every once in a while the software company tries to make an example out of someone in court for a ton of money. Be careful! The only way out of this I can see is if you have some documented proof that you were actually forced to supply them with that software in order to keep your job. Otherwise they could come back at you claiming they didn't know it was your software or that you were trying to make a profit by selling it to them! Or that you were just using your own academic software on their computers and they didn't know it was academic, (the situation with lots of freelancers who bring their laptops into an office).

I'm not an attorney, of course. You don't have to be on welfare to see an attorney, but it depends on just what is available in your area. Check with Legal Aid, or there are several other similar organizations that will give free legal advice, depending on the particular issue involved. I'd bet they wouldn't see you about getting your software, but they might see you about workplace intimidation that cost cost you your job.

I know the money you spent on that software seems like a fortune when you're broke, but you may just have to write this off as a lesson in dirty dealings with employers. Always get the cash up front whenever possible for any kind of expenses, unless it's a reputable company that only deals with purchase orders. Getting into a deal that (you should have known) was illegal with your boss was just setting yourself up.

I wouldn't dream of pursuing this legally without a lawyer! Was it a contract job? My guess is it was, so you can't even use it to re-apply for unemployment. But if it wasn't and you can prove you were pushed to do stuff like that, that seems like grounds for eligibility to benefits again, assuming you actually worked enough time and income to qualify.

Good luck, but again, be careful how you approach this matter.

OK, I agree I am not 100 percent innocent here and I admitted that openly.Just trying to help and survive. Nice people do finish last! The company approached me about this. they know I had it. The IT man installed it. No passwords are needed, just a serial number, which they have. I DO have all the disks and documents, they don't. It is registered under my name. They have no way whatsoever to prove the ownership of this software nor anyway to prove I allowed this to happen. How it happened is a he said she said ordeal. The bottom line is this company has and is using illegal software and I'm not even an employee there to pin it on. I was terminated because I tried to get back what is legally mine. I do have emails sent on a couple of occasions trying to get payment. I have emails to some agencies asking help in this matter - before I was fired. I am not afraid of what will happen to me. It is what it is. Adobe and I had a long phone conversation. I have a case number from them. They also opened up two more licenses so I can re-use my own software. They are very nice about this. It was me who was more upset then them. <grin>. Adobe said to leave it to fate. The job... was working for them as a regular hired employee. I DO know no one there will help me. Everyone there is scared, very scared of their own boss. Quite sad actually.

Again, thank you for your post. I will hold your thoughts and everyone else who posts thoughts as I move forward with this.
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sharonB

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Re: Bullied by Boss - Need Help

Post  nancym on Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:14 pm

It is really sad. The work environment in Florida was bad enough before this economic mess, but now that American employers have the upper hand, every petty-dictator boss is having a field day with staff. In some ways I find it better to work as a contractor, in spite of the lack of benefits and regular schedule. At least as a contractor you might be regarded as another businessman or woman, someone to negotiate with, rather than a personal slave.
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Re: Bullied by Boss - Need Help

Post  sharonB on Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:23 pm

nancym wrote:It is really sad. The work environment in Florida was bad enough before this economic mess, but now that American employers have the upper hand, every petty-dictator boss is having a field day with staff. In some ways I find it better to work as a contractor, in spite of the lack of benefits and regular schedule. At least as a contractor you might be regarded as another businessman or woman, someone to negotiate with, rather than a personal slave.

I am taking that route as I type. My talents as a graphic designer are good enough to approach companies and businesses to ask if I can assist in helping their business grow. I am currently working with a Thrift Shop to get her webpage running along with an eBay store. I DO have a lot to offer a business. I feel something positive will happen. I am a firm believer that when GOD closes a door, another will open. I needed to get out of that hell hole in order to move forward. I also hope I helped another person in making a decision about helping out the company they work for. I hate to say I would never do that again. I do know that the first few days at this job, I felt a very unsettling feeling about the owner and his company. ALWAYS follow your instincts.

I will update on my ordeal if I get something worth posting. Thanks Everyone!
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sharonB

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Re: Bullied by Boss - Need Help

Post  nancym on Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:31 pm

You go, girl! Smile

While we may not be able to compete with 50-cent/hour Indian programmers or outsourced graphics projects, I think there are plenty of individuals and small businesses left who need help with their web and graphics work, yet can't afford right now to hire full-time employees. Sometimes they really have no idea about how to start their projects, or what the cost or involvement. So what they usually do is ask around, and when you do good work, someone will refer you. It may not result in the kind of salary we might be used to, but it's at least possible to survive, and maybe more if you really figure out the right business moves and have some luck to boot.

In the past, I would reluctantly take on a few web development jobs, reluctant mainly because, though I know the graphics very well, the coding would take me forever and I couldn't make enough because of that lack of speed. But now I'm taking classes that are increasing that efficiency by several multiples, so I don't hesitate to take on the work, just limited by my having to keep up with classes and all the other time-consuming survival tactics necessary right now! (Options for medical care, catching up on bills, or not, etc.) By the time I finish in the spring, I should feel well prepared to take on whatever kind of project comes my way, or apply for a much broader spectrum of jobs than I could approach last year.

There's a woman on Open Congress who used to be a professional HR person. Now she started an at-home candy business. She's just getting started, but she reports that she's not making a lot yet, but she is so far able to survive and take care of her daughter. She's been off benefits like most of us here, since April. I know there are many here who might not even be able to afford the ingredients for making candy, but I guess I'm just saying, keep all possible options open, there may be some avenue to survival that might not be the life you had before, but that might at least sustain your life.
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Re: Bullied by Boss - Need Help

Post  sharonB on Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:25 pm


Thank You for those encouraging words. I need them right now. I did enroll into school as soon as I was laid off in Sept 2007. I graduated in Nov. 2009 with a AS in Graphic Design. March rolled around and I was still not working so I re enrolled for my bachelors in Web Development. I have seen want ads for that kind of work close enough for me to travel too. I'm glad I did. AFter that is when I got the job from hell.

I'm not sure if it's OK to post my webpage so if I'm not supposed to, please have it removed. This is a small sample of what I've done for projects and businesses. I will be changing the Flash page around quite often and maybe adding some 3D animation As I move forward with my education. I have not received formal papers from unempl. yet but on the site it is saying I have not made enough money to collect. I find that odd considering last year, I was told I needed to make at least $800 to re open a claim. I'm way past that... Oh well...

Again, thank you all for keeping me positive. That isn't easy. Cool

www.sharonsstuff.com
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sharonB

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Sorry

Post  Sheila on Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:59 pm

Sorry you got fired, with the software being registered to it sounds like you got a case. Yes, BTW, unless you are rich or on welfare, YOU CANNOT AFFORD an attorney. I am glad you qualify for legal aid. (IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA, YOU MUST QUALIFY FOR WELFARE TO GET LEGAL AID) If I were you, I would go for it, after all, your boss bully you into using your own software????? it can happen.

Sheila

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Re: Bullied by Boss - Need Help

Post  nancym on Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:18 pm

Sheila--

I don't qualify for welfare, yet I was able to get free legal aid services last year in South Florida, Broward County. It depends on the issue. My case was about a debt collection. Also, they have a special unit here for seniors, and again, it still depends on the issue.
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