Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
SNOW STORM: Still Not Home!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Circumstantial Evidence in the Workplace
1) raising an inference of retaliation - Because you don't have direct evidence you have to show the implications of your evidence by building a thorough case against your employer and its arguments/positions;
2) if your employer fails to produce evidence of a legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for the challenged action (firing, demotions, suspension, transfer to a hard to reach location, being stripped of assignments, harassment, retaliation, etc.) - Are your employer's reasons for its actions against you plausible/believable? You have to focus on exposing their lies and destroying their cover story; or
3) if the reason advanced by the employer is a pretext to hide the retaliatory motive - You can show pretext by demonstrating that your employer treated you differently than similarly situated employees (similar jobs/titles, location/job site, job levels/classification, etc.).
Also consider that an initial inference of retaliation arises where there is proof that the protected activity and the adverse action were related. Typically, the link is demonstrated by evidence that:
-- the adverse action occurred shortly after the protected activity; and
-- the person who undertook the adverse action was aware of the complainant's protected activity (opposing discrimination, participating in an investigation, etc.) before taking the action.
So, if you file a complaint against your employer, internally or externally, alleging discriminatory practices, retaliation, etc. and you suddenly become targeted with adverse actions like increased surveillance and heightened scrutiny, unjustified negative performance evaluations, denial of a promotion, etc., you should link the timing of filing your complaint with the timing of a quick response by your employer that included adverse actions. Point out that those engaged in executing the performance action knew of your complaint/oppostion to discriminatory practices.
Even if your employer waits to execute adverse actions, you can still prove retaliation, etc. through other circumstantial evidence.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Coping With a Stressful Work Environment During the Holiday Season
Stress can take a toll on you. I actually suffered hair loss, insomnia, high blood pressure, headaches, neck pain, and other problems, when I was targeted at work over a sustained period of time.
Even friends and family become victims. They have to watch you suffer and they also have to listen to the endless stories you tell about what is happening at work. It’s stressful for everyone in your inner circle.
Regardless of what is going on at work, you have to remember to keep yourself as healthy and sane as possible. Think about it…workplace abuse often involves psychological warfare. Usually, there are many people against one targeted employee. You have to understand that it is normal to feel mentally and physically ravaged by events at work. But, you still have to "get a life!" Don't let them take that from you too.
There are some things you can do to help your situation:
TIP #1: You have to be proactive in coming up with strategies for how to cope with your problems at work, including deciding when it may be time to end your employment. Remember, you can always continue your fight to clear your name, when you have severed employment with a company.
TIP #2: If you should decide to leave employment, carefully examine the job market, your finances, and your options. If you are forced to resign your position, always try to leave a job on your own terms.
TIP #3: If you stay at your job, do everything in your power to create a positive and peaceful environment. Bring your favorite CDs to work. Bring in artwork or photos that provide a visual getaway. Take a 5-10 minute walk outside of the building, whenever you need it. But, try to be discreet, when you leave. If you have to, pretend you’re going on a smoking break, which many companies allow. If you’re a non-smoker, say that you’ve suddenly taken it up! If you have to stand there with a loosey in your hand, so be it! Stand outside for a few minutes to purge the negative energy you’ve built up from the office.
Tip #4: Make a quick phone call to a friend or meet a friend for lunch and talk about something other than your problems at work.
Tip #5: Take your lunch break off the premises, if possible. Don’t go to the company cafeteria. Get off of the company grounds!
TIP #6: Focus on doing your job correctly. Don’t give your employer ammunition to use against you that will “justify” your continued mistreatment.
Tip #7: Document everything! Knowing that you are making the best case possible and protecting your interests will give you some peace of mind.
Tip #8: Don’t forget that exercise helps to relieve stress and tension.
Tip #9: Make plans to do something fun! Enjoy the holidays!!
Thursday, December 09, 2010
LEGAL BRIEF: We Can't Be Janitors? Really?
Chicago Janitorial Services Company Failed to Recruit and Hire African Americans, Federal Agency Charged
CHICAGO – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced last month that a federal magistrate judge in Chicago has today entered a $3 million consent decree ending litigation by the EEOC against a janitorial services company, Scrub, Inc. of Chicago.
The EEOC’s lawsuit, which was filed June 19, 2009, charged that Scrub had failed to recruit African-American applicants and failed to hire black applicants for entry-level janitorial positions. Scrub is a privately held company which holds contracts to provide janitorial services at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.
The EEOC brought its lawsuit after its administrative investigation revealed that substantial numbers of African-Americans were applying to Scrub, but being denied the opportunity to work because of racial discrimination. The investigation revealed that Scrub relied on a subjective decision-making process without clear objective criteria for hiring employees.
In addition to providing for the distribution of $3 million in monetary relief to victims of discrimination, the consent decree requires significant injunctive relief. The decree prohibits the company from discriminating in the future and mandates the hiring of certain claimants who still want jobs at Scrub. The EEOC said that approximately 550 African-American applicants may receive relief under the decree.
“Stopping race discrimination in hiring is one of the basic objectives the EEOC was created to address 45 years ago,” said EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez. “Unfortunately, there is a continuing need for law enforcement work in this area. The consent decree in Scrub makes a very important contribution to that work, by providing job opportunities to qualified applicants who were denied them in the past, and requiring that the company take steps to reform its hiring practices in the future.”
John Rowe, director of the EEOC Chicago District Office, said, “We are pleased that this case was able to be resolved with Scrub. The consent decree will ensure that the federal laws against discrimination are followed and that all future applicants, regardless of their race or national origin, will be given the consideration that they deserve.”
The decree has additional measures to prevent discrimination including that Scrub revise its hiring policy, use its best efforts to reach certain hiring goals of African-Americans, train its human resource staff on the law prohibiting race discrimination, and hire an outside monitor to review its compliance with the decree. Scrub is also required to increase its recruitment efforts in the African-American community.
John Hendrickson, regional attorney for the Chicago District Office, said, “The EEOC continues to vigorously protect the rights of the American worker to be free from discrimination. These rights extend to applicants for open positions. Especially in these tough economic times, companies must ensure that applicants are considered based on their merit and not their race or national origin.”
The consent decree was entered this morning by Magistrate Judge Susan Cox of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. The EEOC’s lawsuit, EEOC v. Scrub, Inc., N.D. Illinois No 09-Cv-4228, was filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 after the agency exhausted its efforts to voluntarily conciliate the matter with the company.
In addition to Hendrickson, EEOC is represented by Supervisory Trial Attorney Diane Smason and Trial Attorneys Laurie Elkin, Ann Henry and Brandi Davis. The EEOC Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Fake Congratulations Indeed!
The one worth mentioning the most is the Black, female executive who was trying to block my promotion. She couldn't look me in the eyes. This was even funnier because I'm one of those people who makes strong eye contact. I have to remind myself to look away because I sometimes look people right in the eyes until they get uncomfortable. Well, this chick was squirming. And, I was staring...probably not even blinking.
She looked at the floor...
She looked to my left...
She looked to my right...
all while telling me that I was the logical choice and she was rooting for me the whole time and she loves what I bring to the table and she is just sooooooooooooooooooooooooo soooooooooooooooooo happy that I was selected because I had a lot to give as far as mentoring, etc.
It was ridiculous. And it was pathetic.
I would have respected her more if she didn't say anything at all or if she just said, "congratulations," and just kept it moving.
If you're speaking to someone and they know you're lying, what's the point?
Anyway, now she's my best friend. And, let me tell you how good she is...
She was speaking to me one day like we were childhood friends. For a second, one hot second, this woman made me forget everything. I was like, "Damn she's good!"
I have to stay on my toes with this one.
Anyway, I'm going to my job to the best of my abilities knowing that she will take the first opportunity she gets to screw me over.
I will not give her any ammunition! And, I will not let my guard down.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
The post was about a friend, who found some interesting pieces of evidence to use against her supervisor lying around the printers at her job.
My friend was complaining about conditions at her workplace and felt she was being subjected to a hostile work environment as punishment for speaking up. Her supervisor was going out of her way to antagonize her and had even told my friend that she would be evaluated on things such as her “soul” for her performance review (that is not a joke).
In the midst of all this scheming, the supervisor inadvertently left a document at the printer containing her plans for setting up my friend for termination. This included creating documentation to put in her personnel file, as well as the intent to hold a fraudulent meeting to discuss the fraudulent performance deficiencies. That would be followed by a meeting, a few days later, to terminate my friend.
In other words, the supervisor was going to put memos and other written evidence into my friend’s personnel file, was going to meet with her to discuss her so-called performance problems, and then was going to tell her that she showed no improvement or deteriorated in the areas of concern that were addressed. Even though she was making fraudulent claims, she wasn’t even going to pretend to give my friend a chance to improve. The termination was all planned out to happen over the course of about 1-2 weeks.
All this information was just lying around on the countertop by the printer.
This is not the first time that I’ve seen members of management careless enough to leave incriminating evidence just lying around the office in plain view of staff. That is why today’s suggestion is….
LEARN TO BE A SNOOP!!
If you’re having problems at work, you should be acting like a private investigator. You should be seeking any information you can use against a coworker, supervisor or anyone else who is discriminating against you, harassing you and/or retaliating against you.
If you’re at the printer, sneak a peek at everything coming off the printer. Even if someone is there, you can pick up the document, look at it, and hand it to them if it belongs to them. If it doesn’t, you can still look at it and place it on the countertop. You are simply waiting for your own file to come out and you have no choice but to look at the files being printed in order to claim what’s yours.
If documents have not been claimed and they are piled around the printer, take a look at every last document to see if there is anything about you or that is helpful to you.
Another story I can share, is having a coworker harassed by nasty memos and emails being intentionally left at various printers for staff to see. The memos and emails talked about this woman not knowing her job, not being liked by staff, not being liked by clients, and possibly being terminated due to incompetence. These documents included claims that she overcharged clients by working slowly and not knowing her job. And, included sarcastic comments that if you wanted to “chew through hours,” you should assign this woman to a project because she would waste time and couldn’t get anything done.
These documents were left everywhere on our floor. There is no way they weren’t intentionally left out. They were at various printers. More than one person was printing and leaving the files unclaimed. Everyone was talking about it. It got back to the woman. As a result of this behavior and other factors, she resigned about 2 months later.
In this case, documents were being left at a printer to cause someone a hostile and offensive work environment. This wasn’t an accident, where someone printed something and forgot to go get it! Despite all of the negative claims in the documents being left everywhere, no one was meeting with this woman to cite performance deficiencies. She was just having the "wagons circled around her." That was the running joke in the hallways. "Oh, they want her to leave." What this woman could have done was use the documents to show how the workplace was becoming unbearable and how she was being intentionally humiliated in front of her coworkers. She could have turned these documents into evidence.
So, my reminder for the day is that everyone should remember to be a snoop.
It is amazing what people will leave all over the office. If you see paper lying around, pick it up and take a look at what’s there. If it’s useful to you, make sure nobody is watching and just walk about with it. Put it in a file, quote from it, show it to your lawyer, forward it to EEOC or another investigatory agency, etc.
Put someone else’s carelessness or intentional malice to work for you! Snoop…eavesdrop…and do whatever it takes to build your case!
Monday, December 06, 2010
Thursday, December 02, 2010
IN THE NEWS: The GOP Prevents Extension of Unemployment Benefits with Christmas Approaching!
Scott Brown, the REPUBLICAN Senator from Massachusetts, cast the deciding vote,on Tuesday, that will stop more than 2 million Americans from collecting unemployment insurance as we approach the Christmas holiday. Brown helped block a $54 million extension of the benefits. With many Blacks being out of work, of course this impacts our community nationwide.
REPUBLICANS blocked unemployment benefits, but they are fighting for more tax cuts for the wealthy. No surprise there!
Some people don't vote because they say who's in power supposedly doesn't matter. And, some people only vote when it comes to Presidential elections. So, by not voting in the mid-terms, the Republicans seized control of the House of Representatives in November. And, what have they done with that?
Well, they just defeated $4.5 billion dollar legislation that would have expanded school lunch programs and would have expanded eligibility. That means more children would have qualified for school lunch.
Republicans say the legislation was an overreach of government power.
Democrats would not have stopped the extension of unemployment and they would not have stopped the school lunch program expansion.
So, when the next series of elections come around, let's all ask ourselves if who is in office really doesn't impact us and our community. And, then let's go out and vote!!
Republicans in the House say they will block anything President Obama or the Democrats put forward that doesn't have to do with tax cuts for the wealthy and a couple of other items--for the wealthy--they have on THEIR agenda. If you think voting doesn't matter, then you might want to ask the poorest among us.
Just something to think about.