Mewsings from Lowecat (aka Indianacat)

My rants, ravings, and overall 'mewsings' on life, the universe, and everything.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Not Bloodied, But Hurt Nonetheless

Anyone who follows me on Twitter and Facebook knows that on occasion, I will comment on some of the frustrations related to my job.  Well, as of today, my #workrants (the # is the hashtag I use when commentin' about said frustrations) will not be appearin' for awhile. 

I was terminated today.  After an hour of work. 

There was no written disciplinary action taken prior to the termination.  No warnings, no documented consultations.  The only thing that preluded today's event was an investigation that came from, ironically enough, a report I personally made to the ethics line on 11 January. 

Allow me to backtrack a bit.  Up until our evening team lead/manager was fired in November, our department at night wasn't too hard to work in.  We had some people that would misbehave when he was out of the department, but it wasn't rampant and constant.  After he was fired, things got pretty bad. 

There are company policies against threats and profanity, no use of cell phones on the call center floor and no visitin' other departments.  There were also many reminders to watch excessive loud talk that could cause distractions.  Certain members of the team violated one or all of these procedures on a regular basis.  The person who was assigned to the quad across from me often sang to herself, belched loudly, yelled over (other people's and) my cubicle/head to her friends regardless of whether teammates were making/taking calls.  She would also stand behind me or beside my cubicle to talk loudly to her friends.  So would a couple of other reps.   The one across from me had her cell phone out constantly, and it would buzz every five minutes with text msgs, buzzing that was of a pitch that hurt my head.  The one across from me and her friends would have visitors from other departments or would just take off from the department to visit their friends in other departments for long periods of time.  Their stats were indicative of this occurrence, but they continued with apparent impunity (I say apparent because after two months of this behavior, they have not been transferred to a different department due to their lack of call processin').

Because we had no night time lead/manager, instead of emailing the miscreants to ask them to tone it down - which to my mind would've resulted in conflict - I followed the establishe procedure of goin' to another department's manager, explainin' the situation, and relyin' on that person to take care of the problem.  If I received an unprofessional/harrassin' email from one of the miscreants, same thing.  Nothin' was addressed.

I was not the only person aware of the miscreants lack of decorum, but was one of the few willin' to speak up.  I asked to relocate my desk more than once, but it was denied for various reasons, usually that IT had to approve it.  It seemed that if I moved to a desk away from the miscreants, their disruptions wouldn't disturb me as much. 

It was a thought.

On 11 January, one of the other reps on the team got fed up with the main three miscreants bein' away from their desks, visitin' another rep in another department.  I was on a bathroom run at the time, after holdin' it in because they were off the phones and he and I were the only ones on the floor takin' inbounds.  While away from my desk, he apparently told the trio to get their @$$es back to work.  They didn't like that and snarked back. 

Upon returning to the department, he was followin' the same manager my pleas had been made to into a conference room.  The rep was lookin' grim.  So did the manager.
Considerin' that this particular manager had done nothin' when one of the miscreants sent me a nasty email and then verbally harassed and threatened me while I was on a call, I didn't figure the manager would do much then. 

Next thing I knew, he was pullin' me, the other rep, and two of the miscreants into a conference room to discuss the on going problem in the department.  I was gobsmacked and caught off guard by this; havin' no idea what was goin' on in the first place.

He started by sayin' that all the managers, includin' himself were 'sick and tired of the problems in the department.'  I spoke up that if the managers would address the issues when they're brought to their attention instead of eggin' on the problem by jokin' around with the people causin' disruptions, there would be less trouble on the floor.

Well, the back stabbin' and finger pointin' from the two miscreants erupted, and yours truly was the object of the finger pointin'.  I got upset and defensive, and cursed a few times in defendin' myself against the accusations bein' made.  At one point, one of the miscreants brought up the fact that she had kids to go home to, which was more important than the matter of hand. 

That pushed me a little too far.  I said, "By all means, we don't want your kids to get upset!"  Which earned me a threat to be beaten in the parking lot.  The mgr said nothin' to her about that, but threatened to write me up for cursin'. 

The woman left, slammin' the door behind her.  Her friend continued pointin' me out as the main problem, goin' so far as to say that 'nothing that is done is going to make her happy!"  Well, since she isn't me, she doesn't know that.  I was shakin' and beyond upset by this point, my shift was over, so I left as well, and slammed the door myself. 

After clockin' out, I made a report to the corporate ethics hotline.  I felt that there might have been some ethnic sympathy goin' on between the manager and the miscreants, and reported what had happened durin' the meetin', includin' the fact that I had a recordin' of it.

The next week, all four of us were hauled into individual meetin's with an HR rep and the department manager.  When my meetin' occurred, I answered the questions, provided information, but was unwillin' to go out an name any names of people who had might have witnessed the event. 

Why?  Well, unwillin' witnesses often won't back you up.  Additionally, after one of the miscreants gave her statement, she told her friends on the team what was goin' on, and what to say because if they all said the same thing, they'd get me fired.

And they did.

So, even though I reported to the boss that this was happenin', again, there was no apparent action taken. 

During the interview with the HR rep, I had a vivid realization of where the investigation was leadin'.  I did ask why were they makin' me the scapegoat when I had no inolvement in the intial 11 Jan incident.  "Because of behaviors you engaged in during the meeting," was the answer. 

No one ever asked to hear the actual recording of the meeting.  And yes, I recorded that little interview, too.  And today's.

So today, when I came in to work, and cleaned up a mess that someone else had caused by not followin' a process, the department manager asked me to go into an off line status and to come with him.   I did, but took my iPhone with me and set the memo app to record from my pocket.

The HR rep and the center manager were already in the conference room.  My manager and I sat down, then he proceeded to read a document to me. 

I attempted to interject once, to verbally and on record correct a misrepresentation of facts on the write up, but the center manager told me to 'Shut up.'   When my manager announced that my employment was being terminated, I took off my badge and dropped it on the table.  I was told to sign the form and refused, as was my right. When I attempted to speak on record, the center manager told me if I had something to say, it could be put in writing on the form, but he wasn't going to listen to anything I had to say.

So, I stood up and walked to the door, intending to get my jacket, coffee cup, and my lunch bag.  The center manager leaped up in front of the door and got right into my space, yelling at me to sit down and pointing his finger in my face. 

I told him he needed to get out of my face and quit threatening me, or I'd call the police.  "You do, and I'll call them on you!"  This guy easily weighs 275 to 300 pounds and stands close to 6 foot.  He frowns a lot and is intimidating in bearing.  Yup, I was. 

I went back to the chair and asked my now former manager to walk me out of the building, as I had no desire for that center manager to be anywhere near me.  All three of 'em walked me out.  The center manager charged out of the room, and brought a cardbox box with my few belongings in it (two pictures in frames, my coffee cup, my lunch bag, and my phone's power cord). My leather jacket was placed haphazardly on top. 

"Here's your stuff.  Get out of here." The center manager informed me.

So I walked out of the conference room AFTER inventorying the items and returning a book from the staff library so they couldn't claim I stole it.  I kept my head high and walked to the nearest elevator instead of takin' the walk of shame to the opposite elevator - which would've meant goin' through the entire center.  The three managers seemed to dilly dally when the elevator opened and I got on. 

"Are y'all comin'?  Otherwise I'm outta here."  

That got 'em movin' pretty quick.

We walked briskly to the entrance where my car was parked.  I was still pretty perturbed, and told the center manager that in my opinion, he had behaved very unprofessionally, and that everything that had been said about him from the sales department he'd come from was quite true.

When I opened the door and walked through it, something caused me to lose my balance, and I fell onto my left side at the entrance.   This was on concrete.  Hard concrete. 

Now, a human bein' would at least have the courtesy to say, "Are you alright?"  Instead, and maybe because he feared (!) that I'd sue him for helpin' me up, he stood and said, "Be careful next time!" in a snide manner.

"Fuck you!"  I retorted while struggling to get up.  No one offered to help me, none of them asked if I'd broken anything.  Instead, they left me in the cold air and held the door closed.  I was surprised that my then former manager was being so callous.  Maybe he wasn't allowed to help me?  I don't know.

So I left.

And have filed an unemployment claim, as this will be the 'waiting week'.

And will be calling HR to file a WC claim for the fall, as it happened on their property.  I went to the doctor's office and she said nothin' was broken or sprained, but I'll bruise and be in pain. 

She called that right. 

And if HR refuses to file a WC claim, I'll call the leasing office of the building and file a liability claim for the doctor visit and any subsequent care I need.

Oh, and the reason for the termination?  That I perpetually fostered a sense of a hostile work environment, threatening fellow employees (by remarking that sometimes the people who created problems by not following through made me want to go on the warpath and scalp 'em -- ok, bad thing to say out loud, but not bad as bad as threatening to take someone out in the parkin' lot --  called the two miscreants 'bitches' more than once (I muttered it to myself in the meeting and that was the only time).

Meanwhile, the two miscreants are still employed, and were smiling broadly as I was going to the conference room.  

Well, I was job huntin' when I got this job, and can do so again.  Hell, I'm only 53.


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