Thursday, July 24, 2008

Frustrations of a Black Worker

I spoke to a friend on the phone, last night, who I hadn’t spoken to in about 3 years. He moved away to Denver, Colorado to take a great position in a biology lab. After finding his phone number and reconnecting with him, one of the first things he said is, “I’m moving back home.” I asked if he was homesick. But, that wasn’t the reason he was heading back to the Washington, DC Metro area. He said the reason he was going home was that just couldn’t take the White people he was working with anymore.

I asked him what was up and began to describe the White folks at HIS job. He said (and I’m paraphrasing), “They don’t listen to anything you say, they only hear what they want, they only want you to do what they want, they want you to do it how they would do it, and I am sick and f’ing tired of how they just keep sticking up for each other. They can be dead wrong, know they’re dead wrong, and will still stand in your face pretending you’re the one who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. They will mind somebody else’s business, just to get in there and stick up for somebody and they don’t even know what’s going on. I’m done with these White people out here. It’s time to get back to DC.” He was quiet for a few moments and then he said, “You just don’t know.”

Unfortunately, I’m sure many of us have felt that same frustration at one point or another. And, it always feels like you’re the only one going through something like that. It feels like no one understands what you’re dealing with. It feels like no one is listening to you.

I’ve gone through the same thing. I gave up my job in DC because I just couldn’t take it anymore after filing my complaint with the Office of Human Rights. My health, my sanity, everything was under attack. I had to start over somewhere else. I had to go somewhere where I had a true support system. For me, home was NY. For him it is DC.

It’s not about running away from problems. But, when you are living in another state, away from friends and family, dealing with race-based issues can take an even greater toll because you don’t have your peoples right there to have your back.

My complaint was filed on my last day of employment, so I thought I’d use today’s post to remind people of some of the type’s of incidents to track at work. There are far too many people who can't vindicate their rights because they didn't keep a record of the information that would have been most valuable to an investigator or lawyer. Here's the list:

-- Unequal or Illegal Treatment in the Workplace

-- A Significant Change to Your Job Status

-- A Hostile Work Environment/ Bullying and Threats (threatening stares and behavior, insults and name-calling, eye-rolling, being ignored when speaking to an individual or at meetings, a bully going out of his/her way to encroach upon your personal space, etc.)

-- Having Your Job Threatened

-- Physical Violence (people intentionally banging into you, being shoved, being slapped, etc.)

-- Having Items Thrown at You/ Temper Tantrums/ Yelling and Shouting (in front of staff and privately)

-- Patently Malicious and False Performance Reviews/False Claims of Incompetence and Performance Deficiencies

-- Being Bombarded with Meaningless and Unnecessary Assignments to Prevent You from Doing Your Job/Being Set Up for Failure

-- Repeatedly and Intentionally Being Given Deadlines that You Can’t Meet/Being Set Up for Failure

-- The Malicious Destruction of Your Reputation

-- Personal Attacks/Attacks Based on Stereotypes and Racist Assumptions

-- The Baseless Denial of Company Benefits and Resources/Punishment

-- Being Given Demeaning Assignments/Punishment

-- Racial Epithets and Slang

-- Racially Charged Comments and Questions

-- Slander and Character Assassination/Malicious Gossip

-- Acts of Intentional Humiliation

-- Blatant Lies and Misrepresentation of Facts

-- Being Blamed For Mistakes Caused by Others

-- Your Confidential Information Is Shared with Staff

-- Having Administrative Forms Altered or Forged (timesheets, leave slips, etc.)

-- Being Isolated (forced to only work on “Black Projects,” physical isolation
from other staff, forced to work at a hard to reach location, etc.)

-- No Opportunity to Advance (list the reasons given to deny you a promotion, whether anyone has ever discussed promotions with you, and whether anyone has discussed and identified what you need to do in order to be promoted)

-- Being Denied Training Offered To Other Staff

-- Fabricated “Witness” Statements (a company may have coworkers prepare false statements against you to use as justification for targeting you or making claims of performance deficiencies)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am truly happy to see that I am not insane!
My supervisor requested that I approve invoices without reviewing them for accuracy. When I refused in the nicest way I knew how, he tried to intimidate me by telling me stories of others who had lost their jobs because they failed to do what their supervisor asked. My supervisor then started to look for things I was doing just to complain or document in my personnel file. For every complaint he accused me of, I had something to tell him. I have received several cash awards, recognition and superior ratings on my performance evaluation because I believed in doing my job. What puzzles me is he knows I believe in doing my job, I am NOT sure why he thought I would approve/sign my name on millions of dollars invoices without reviewing line by line. When I found a large "error" I could not approve the invoice. He has since harassed, intimidated and retaliated against me. I went to EEO and Alternative Dispute Resolution and shortly after going to those offices, my supervisor shows up in the late afternoon from a different city at least 90 miles away, to tell me my job was complete.
I filed an ERO complaint based upon he wanted me to do something illegal and when I refused, he has given me a job-complete letter.
I filed an ERO complaint because I felt like he was harassing and intimidating me causing a hostile work environment.
I have been search for laws for government employees but have found nothing that says he is wrong simply because he did not retaliate, harass or intimidate due to race, sex, age, gender, etc.
If you are reading this message, please let me know if you can think of anything that would help my case against him.
I usually set back and wait for God to handle the situation. For I know, when God takes care of whatever it is - IT WILL BE WELL HANDLED. I am started to realize that sometimes God wants us to stand up sometimes. I am displeased because my supervisor told an employee that I was a disgruntled employee and told another counselor that I am complaining because I saw the work "drying up." He told the counselor that I had filed a previuos complaint against another boss. He told these lies to try and get them not to listen to me. And sure enough, the counselor called me in her office to tell me she wanted to talk to me about my rights. She told me if I filed "another" complaint, it would be difficult for me to get another job within the agency. AND I told the counselor that I sure nuff was going to file a complaint because my supervisor had a pattern of abuse and had fired another worker because she refused to sign documents. My supervisor was involved in meetings in a particular case and knew the ends and outs, but wanted my ex-coworker to sign her name and when she refused, he gave her a job complete letter. Fortunately for me, he put the reason for firing her in writing and gave it to me to file in her personnel file. I have a copy of the letter and have put it in my complaint.
I can show that my supervisor started demoting me, nitpicking me immediately after I would not sign documents.
Get this, he gave me a newspaper article relating to people who lost their jobs for taking bribes NOT signing documents.
The only piece of evidence I can show is the newspaper and the TIMEframe of his behaviors which occured shortly after I would not sign.
I should be looking for another job, but have not diligently looked becuase of this complaint. Everyone/Section in the company has contact me for a report.
Please help!

4:25 PM  

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