You Can't Always Have Your Way

Ms. Faye Riva Cohen
September 5, 2013 — 950 views  

I always find it interesting, after speaking with someone who calls or retains me for advice, and suggesting to them a remedy for their situation, that they respond, regardless of how bad their situation is, and it is usually bad enough for them to have taken the time to locate a lawyer to speak with, that they choose not to take the action I have suggested because they do not feel that they must uproot themselves to remedy the problem. I will provide some examples below of what I mean.

Landlord/Tenant Matters

Recently a woman called me to complain that someone, probably connected with her landlord, has come into her apartment several times when she is not home. She recently fell down a flight of stairs in her building and she feels that now the landlord is harassing her by sending people into her apartment. As she has a month to month lease, I suggested that she move as soon as possible. She said that she can’t afford to move, and I suggested to her that the landlord may be willing to waive some notice, or perhaps even pay for her move. What she really wanted to know was whether she could receive some damages from the landlord due to someone entering her apartment. I told her that without legal proof that the entry was taken, that it was unauthorized, that there was not a provision in the lease which permits such entry, and finally, proof of how she was damaged by said actions, a judge would not consider her claim valid. She became frustrated with me when I said that although she has tried to get proof, but could not, that was not sufficient under the law. Her reaction is fairly typical of many people who call me to complain about their landlords or the physical condition of their apartments, or something the other tenants are doing which bothers them, and that is, in response to my advice to them to move, they say why should “I inconvenience myself when the landlord is at fault?”

Well, I am here to tell you that there is not, as many people think, a “bad landlords” department one can call in the government, who will come over and force a landlord to resolve the problem. There are legal remedies one can take, and sometimes government departments request or fine a landlord into making repairs, but this usually involves a lengthy process. Sometimes it is preferable, especially if your landlord agrees to permit you to leave, which many landlords will do because they consider the tenant to be a pain in the neck, to move elsewhere.

Employment Matters

Many employees call me complaining about their problems in the workplace, such as being mistreated by their supervisor or co-workers. Often they have a whole litany of problems that have taken place over years. When I question why they don’t or didn’t try to find another job their answers range from:

  • The economy is bad and it is hard to find another job, although most of them haven’t even tried.
  • They have done a good job and the treatment they are receiving is not their fault, so why should they have to be the one to leave?
  • They feel they can maintain their job regardless of whether their employer wants to terminate them.

Many of these people remain in their jobs although their stress level has gone through the roof, they are being treated for anxiety and/or depression due to the job-related problems, they have developed physical ailments like high blood pressure due to the job-related problems, they have taken some time off due to job-related problems, and they dread coming to work each day.

I suggest that before you allow your job to cause you serious mental/physical health problems, you leave that job. There is no such thing anymore as a job for life; there is no such thing that an employer cannot terminate you even if you are or have been a good employee; and there is no such thing that someone or some entity can force an employer to keep you on your job. There are some remedies that can be undertaken through the help of a lawyer, to possibly soften the economic impact of that leaving, but I do not advise hanging onto a job for dear life when there are clear signals that you will be terminated in the future, and nothing you do anymore is perceived to be right by the employer. Even if you are represented by a union, and that union has assisted you several times, the union also has its limits and further help may be withheld or offered halfheartedly.

People who maintain a diehard attitude about their jobs are not doing themselves any favors in the long run, and may lose their ability to collect unemployment compensation, and receive a neutral or good job reference, so they can reestablish themselves elsewhere. 

Ms. Faye Riva Cohen

Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C.

I am Faye Riva Cohen, Esquire and am a Philadelphia attorney who has been practicing law since 1974. I am the president and managing attorney of both the Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C. and Legal Research, Inc.