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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2

    Unhappy Years Of Discrimination and Retaliation

    let me start by saying that I live in new york state and have worked for a small company for 7 years (under 10 total employees) I have a timeline that I will edit a bit and post it here. It may seem like a made up story at times but IT IS ALL TRUE. I'll say thats its a company in the trades. I"ll try to keep it as brief as possible. Remember a few things will be left out just to keep this as anonymous as possible.
    I started working with a small company in June or July of 2000.

    Early 2002 construction work was slow so I was looking for a second job to make up for the lost income. My employer found out that I was looking for another job, through another employee. And the next week I was unemployed.I feel that he took this personally and laid me off even though there was still 20+ hours of work at least. I was out of work for 3 months and now looking for a full time job but the trades were in their slow season so most companies were not hiring at that time. I heard through another employee and close friend that work had picked up at that point and they were very busy. I feel that the company was in a jam and in need of another journeyman/crew leader so they called me back to work. I was called by the employer and he said that he noticed that I was still out of work and if I would like to go back. Being on unemployment I cannot deny this offer. Plus I have been in this trade for 16 years at this time and Wanted to stay in this field. This is the time when I had noticed that I was being treated differently....like an outcast. All conversations with my employer were short. Anything that they said to me was short also. Once back to work it was several months before I had gotten my work cell phone back. During this time all other employees had cell phones, including apprentice employees that had been employed with the company and trade for 2 years or less. I was more experienced (16+years) and the team leader so a cell phone is necessary.

    Late April -early May 2002 my employer gave me a promotion by giving me 40 hours of paid time off. I had gotten health insurance around this time also. Great!! I couldn't be happier
    January 2003 I had gone from having 40 hours of vacation time to 32 hours of paid vacation time. I had mentioned this to the employer and I was told that it would be looked into. I had asked a couple times about it was told again that it would be looked into. That was the last time I had heard of that.
    In 2003 I had received a (used) company vehicle to use and take home. I was happy to get this benefit. I was very happy with this.

    In 2005 it was time for the company to buy new vehicles. My employer had gotten a new work vehicle for himself and had bought 2 brand new vehicles. These 2 vehicles were given to the 2 other teams. I had received a used 2002 vehicle. This vehicle had a door that was crushed in and the hood was all dented and chipped too. Nothing like the new vehicles that had been purchased for the other teams. One team that had received a new vehicle had only been employed for about 2 years at this time. I had been working for the company for 5 years at this time.

    In April of 2005 I had gotten an increase in pay. That was the last pay increase up until I was injured in February 2007 and was pulled out of work. All other employees had received raises in pay during this time and had also received extra days of vacation time. I was overlooked for both. Some were going to get their health insurance Paid by the employer and would receive the extra 35-40 dollars a week in their checks. I thought that that was great benefit for the others. And also a raise when you look at it. I started working with a small plumbing company in June or July of 2000.

    Early 2002 construction work was slow so I was looking for a second job to make up for the lost income. My employer found out that I was looking for another job, through another employee.
    I feel that he took this personally and laid me off even though there was still work. I was out of work for 3 months and looking for a full time job but the trades were in their slow season.
    I heard through another employee that worked had picked up at that point and they were very busy. My employer was apparently in a jam and in need of another journeyman plumber so they called me back to work. This is the time when I had noticed that I was being treated like an outcast. Once back to work it was several months before I had gotten my work cell phone back. During this time all other employees had cell phones, including apprentice employees that had been employed with the company for less than a year. I was a journeyman plumber and the team leader so a cell phone is necessary.

    Late April -early May 2002 my employer gave me a promotion by giving me 40 hours of paid time off. I had gotten health insurance around this time also.
    January 2003 I had gone from having 40 hours of vacation time to 32 hours of paid vacation time. I had mentioned this to the employer and I was told that it would be looked into. That was the last time I had heard of it.

    In 2003 I had received a (used) company vehicle to use and take home. I was happy to get this benefit.

    In 2005 it was time for the company to buy new vehicles. My employer had gotten a new work truck for himself and had bought 2 brand new box style trucks. These 2 vehicles were given to the 2 other teams. I had received a used 2002 box style truck. This vehicle had a door that was crushed in and the hood was all dented and chipped too. Nothing like the new vehicles that had been purchased for the other teams. One team that had received a new truck had only been employed for about 2 years at this time. I had been working for the company for 5 years at this time.

    In April of 2005 I had gotten an increase in pay. That was the last pay increase up until I was injured early 2007 and was pulled out of work. All other employees had received raises in pay during this time(past 2 years) and had also received extra days of vacation time. I was overlooked for both. I started working with a small plumbing company in June or July of 2000.

    Early 2002 construction work was slow so I was looking for a second job to make up for the lost income. My employer found out that I was looking for another job, through another employee.
    I feel that he took this personally and laid me off even though there was still work. I was out of work for 3 months and looking for a full time job but the trades were in their slow season.
    I heard through another employee that worked had picked up at that point and they were very busy. My employer was apparently in a jam and in need of another journeyman plumber so they called me back to work. This is the time when I had noticed that I was being treated like an outcast. Once back to work it was several months before I had gotten my work cell phone back. During this time all other employees had cell phones, including apprentice employees that had been employed with the company for less than a year. I was a journeyman plumber and the team leader so a cell phone is necessary.

    Late April -early May 2002 my employer gave me a promotion by giving me 40 hours of paid time off. I had gotten health insurance around this time also.
    January 2003 I had gone from having 40 hours of vacation time to 32 hours of paid vacation time. I had mentioned this to the employer and I was told that it would be looked into. That was the last time I had heard of it.

    In 2003 I had received a (used) company vehicle to use and take home. I was happy to get this benefit.

    In 2005 it was time for the company to buy new vehicles. My employer had gotten a new work truck for himself and had bought 2 brand new box style trucks. These 2 vehicles were given to the 2 other teams. I had received a used 2002 box style truck. This vehicle had a door that was crushed in and the hood was all dented and chipped too. Nothing like the new vehicles that had been purchased for the other teams. One team that had received a new truck had only been employed for about 2 years at this time. I had been working for the company for 5 years at this time.

    In April of 2005 I had gotten an increase in pay. That was the last pay increase up until I injured my back in February 2007 and was pulled out of work. All other employees had received raises in pay during this time(the past 2 years) and had also received extra days of vacation time. I was overlooked for both. Some had even got the benefit of having the employer pay for their weekly insurance benefits and they would see that money in their paychecks. So getting that benefit they were getting a raise also (about 35-45 dollars a week). Correct? I thought that was great for these people. I felt that they did deserve it. I felt that at this time I should have gotten some sort of new benefit. Either more vacation time or a raise in pay would have been acceptable. When I mentioned this to my employer I was told that it would be looked into and they would get back to me. That was the last time I had heard of this topic. If I brought this back to their attention I was brushed off or was told that there was no way that they had overlooked me.

    In November of 2006 I had found out that I was in need of major surgery. I had called my employer one evening to discuss this matter. I was going to need time off and wanted to work something out so that I could get the needed time off to recover. I mentioned that I didn't need to know that night and they could think about this matter. After that evening my employer avoided me constantly. He would call the apprentice that I had been working with and tell him what our duties were for that specific day. The apprentice would then call me to let me know what our duties were. If I called my employer’s cell phone it would go directly to voice mail. If any materials were needed on the jobs, my employer would have a supply house make the delivery or he brought the materials to the job and dropped them off and would leave before being spotted. It was very obvious that he was avoiding me. I even sent my employer a printout of my MRI so he could see my problem. When he saw this I got the impression that he did not believe that was an MRI me due to his expression. I had heard from another employee also a close friend (I know this is here say but) I was told that the boss had assumed that I had printed out this pic from the internet.
    Nice huh?
    One time in December 2006 and once in January 2007 myself and my helper were sent out to help another team on their job. When we had arrived at their job sites I realized that there were 2 very heavy units. These units had to be installed up on the second floor. These units run anywhere from 175 pounds and up to 250+. The only way to get these up to the second floor is to remove the stairs and lift the units by hand and push them up to the second floor. Not something that a person with a very important broken body part should do. Again this happened 2 times. Both times were between the time I and my employer had found out about my broken body and the time that I was pulled from work early 2007. Also these 2 times my employer did not call me. He avoided me, called my helper and had him relay the message to me.

    February 19, 2007 while at work I had really screwed myself up while doing my normal work duties. RIght where my main problem was. I was pulled out of work by my doctor. I applied for compensation and was denied any pay. I finally did get some money from comp but only 20% of my pay. In late March my employer stopped by my house and asked for the cell phone back and told me that I was going to lose my health insurance. I needed the insurance to pay for the major surgery that I needed. My option was to pay close to $1,000.00 to have COBRA extend my insurance coverage. I had no savings at this time. I may have if I had gotten raises in the past 2 years .I also had to close an IRA account and sell a vehicle to come up with the money to cover the cost of COBRA.

    Knowing that I probably wouldn't be able to perform the job that I had done for 20 years I applied for a job as an inspector. There were only 4 or 5 people that had applied for this position. With my knowledge and skills of the trade plus my pc skills I knew that I had a great shot at that job. The interview went great! They loved my resume. I have been in this trade for 20 years remember my skills and experiences were a BIG plus. I had great references too and the board had known a couple Plus I have known the whole board for the past 20 years. They all know my work ethics. I was denied that position but was not given a reason. I feel that my employer had given me an unjust negative reference when my employer found out that I was applying for an inspector’s position. I'm sure the county may have contacted my current employer for a reference. I feel that I may have a tainted reputation with the county now. I only know this business so staying in this trade or line of work was pretty important to me. As everyone knows, county jobs don't come by often so it was ideal since I probably would not be able to do the physical aspect of the trade.

    Mid April I lost the $60.00 a week that I was getting from compensation. I was also released back to work before my surgery but with restrictions. My employer said that he had no work for me with the restrictions that I had. I then applied for unemployment. I was denied unemployment for several weeks and finally received benefits for about 5 weeks. Around the 4th week of this I had received a letter in the mail that my employer was disputing my unemployment again and that I may need to pay that 5 weeks of unemployment back. There was a hearing about this matter and they ruled in my favor. Now i'm really feeling stressed, out of work, no income and bills piling up including a mortgage. I'm single and have no children so I live alone in my house. Good thing that I do not have kids. I'd hate to put a child through this too.

    Early May 2007 I had found out that my position at the company had been filled. The position happened to be filled by a long time friend and an old co-worker of mine. I found out from my friend that his starting pay was $2.00 more an hour than I had been making for the past 2 years. All of a sudden there was extra money to give out? wierd timing

    All this time my surgeon had been telling me to just rest and relax and that stress isn't good before surgery or for recovery. I had nothing but stress and pressure due to a lot of bills and no income. I couldn't seem to get any help from social services or dissability either. They told me to reopen my comp claim. COmpensation was done with me so that didn't happen. Ugh

    My employer had never called me once to see how things were going before or after surgery. Being an employee for a company with only 6 people in the field for 7 years, I thought I may be treated a little better. Maybe like a family since I know the companies whole family. The last time we had spoken was when I had received the notice about the unemployment dispute. I had called my employer to find out why he was doing this and told me that he felt this should have been a leave of absence. I mentioned some of the facts that I have listed above to him during this call and he just denied everything. I also found out around this time that since the season for us never slowed down he had never planned to give me the time off for surgery and recovery. I feel that if it were any of the other employees he would not have a problem with it. I know for a fact that one employee was getting paid unemployment one year while at bike week in Datona for 2 weeks. Legal? I don't think so. The boss knew this because he would ask this employee about his upcoming trip everytime they would speak.

    I feel that the majority of these acts by my employer were retaliation due to the fact that he is still holding a grudge for me looking for a second job back in 2002.

    I have all my pay stubs to show the facts about my pay and vacation time that I listed above.

    I am currently still out of work and unable to go back to work in my trade due to my disability..

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,521

    Default Re: Years Of Discrimination, Retaliation.

    Your post is way, way too long to read closely. However, here are a few facts for you:

    1.) Even if you are 100% correct that your employer is "retaliating" against you for looking for another job in 2002, that is not illegal retaliation.

    2.) Because your employer has less than 50 employees, you are not entitled by law to any medical leave.

    3.) Because your employer has less than 15 employees, Federal discrimination laws do not apply.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Years Of Discrimination and Retaliation

    Sorry for this post being soo long, but this is what I have putting up with for several years. So him retaliating against me is legal? In other words as long as he has under 15 employees he can do this to all his employees at any time without consequences? There has to be something that can be done. All these acts were mentioned to him once over a phone conversation. He denied them all and had no recollection of any of these things. I know that he has no legal right to give me time off for surgery but, I had hoped to work extra hours for comp time or something so I would not lose that much income. And being there for 7 years and 1 of 2 people that were employed by them the longest I thought I was more valuable to the business. If I was called in on the weekends or after hours for an emergency I would be there. Other employees would just say they were too busy to help out and would never work after hours. He never took this into consideration. Even though I was at work everyday unless I was actually sick. One employee would take at least 1 day a week off and leave early at least twice a week. This was one employee that had gotten raises even though I did not. He had also gotten extra vacation time and to top it off he also got a nice benefit of having his health insurance paid for. This was the bosses pet and he never paid any consequences for his lack of work ethics. I feel that I was treated unfairly even though I was always there for the company first and everything else second. I even finished out the work week in early 2007 after I had had injured my back even more than it already was. This job needed to be completed that week and I knew that my partner (the pet) wouldn't get it done and it would make the company look bad. The boss couldn't care less.

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