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January 31, 2023

This Senior Accountant Alleges Her Job Was Killing Her

How many of you were surprised your first year or two by the sheer amount of work piled on you? If those massive piles of work also included real or allged verbal abuse and assault, you might have a case.

Tammy Armstrong of Rapid City, SD probably didn't imagine she'd be working in the depths of hell when she started with consumer data tracking company I-Behavior.

In her complaint filed against I-Behavior in Colorado court earlier this month, the evidence of Tammy's horrendous abuse at the hands of her employer begins mounting when her lawyer pointed out that as senior accountant, Tammy was often expected to work "far in excess" of 40 hours a week – oh the humanity. It doesn't end there, though, as Tammy alleges she was misclassified as an overtime-exempt employee just so her employer could cheap out and rip her off while expecting her to work all those extra hours. She seeks three years' worth of overtime worth an estimated $28,000 plus interest and attorney’s fees. In addition, Armstrong brings state law claims for Wrongful Discharge in Violation of Public Policy, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, and Willful Violation of the Colorado Wage Claims Act.

From the complaint:

Throughout Ms. Armstrong’s employment, Defendant maintained a hostile work environment that included verbal abuse, assault, and massive amounts of work heaped on Ms. Armstrong that necessitated her working many overtime hours, including nights and weekends, to get it all done. Ms. Armstrong frequently complained about the work environment and her workload, to no avail.

The stress and pressure caused by the work environment and the workload caused Ms. Armstrong to experience serious negative physical problems, including heart problems that resulted in two trips to hospital emergency departments, on May 13, 2011 and July 29, 2011. Ms. Armstrong specifically requested accommodations and a relief in the stress and pressure that were placed on her since her cardiologist advised her that such stress and pressure could cause permanent damage to her heart. However, Defendant failed to make any accommodations to the significant physical symptoms Ms. Armstrong was experiencing as a direct and proximate result of Defendant’s work environment and the demands and pressure it placed on Ms. Armstrong.

What on Earth could be so stressful that it would cause a heart condition? Tammy’s duties included accounts payable, accounts receivable, assisting with month-end and other financial reports, assisting with preparation of tax returns, assisting with banking accounts, and other basic accounting functions. Tammy says her heart condition qualified as a disability under both federal and state law, and therefore implies that by ignoring her warnings that her job was actually killing her, her employer discriminated against her. The complaint called her former company's actions willful, wanton and taken in reckless disregard for Ms. Armstrong’s rights and feelings. Got that, people? Rights and feelings.

The complaint does not elaborate on Tammy's claims of abuse and assault, so we can only guess papers were thrown at her in the course of her A/P duties.

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