Monday, March 22, 2010

Part 3

I wanted to just update all of you on my continuing saga, regarding my job. If you are too lazy to scroll down (not that there is anything wrong with that), here are the first two chapters for you to see:

Part 1
Part 2

It was my intention, following the incident on Thursday, not to discuss any of this with the boss until Monday. For one thing, considering his foul mood that day, the last thing I wanted to do was approach him about anything. I don't work on Fridays, and since I was scheduled to work Monday evening this week, instead of my regular Monday day shift (when she would be there), I decided the best course of action would be to come in on Monday morning and talk to him about it. Perhaps it would have been best to call him after it happened. But I was still pretty shaken up by the whole thing and wasn't exactly sure what I would say.

Regardless, I got a phone call from him Friday. I was unable to get to the phone in time to answer, but he left me a rather nasty sounding message. Not one to sit idly by, I called him back immediately and, like I expected, he left me no chance to speak my peace. Immediately, he began to tell me how I was completely in the wrong and how I am not welcome back until after the upcoming holiday (Passover - where we will be closed for the entire week).

I asked him if she was being punished as well and he responded, "no." Clearly, in his mind, it didn't matter that she started all the trouble, that she had now struck me multiple times, or that I could possibly be the victim. Again, as expected - given his unnatural love for her - I was deemed the guilty party and I will be punished for my transgression.

Now understand, at no time after this all occurred did I expect any less. I've worked for this man for almost two years and I have been verbally and emotionally abused by him, and others on the staff ever since that first day. I've had vegetables thrown at my head, I've had metal bowls placed on my head (and then have them hit with metal spoons, I've been lied to, lied about and criticized repeatedly for not being "fast" enough. I've been screamed at for my political beliefs and have been made fun of for my religious ones. I have witnessed my boss lie bald-faced to creditors and I have seen him go completely berserk over the slightest mistake (but never, ever his own, nor the waitress in question).

So his phone call to me was not the least bit surprising. On the other hand, it certainly did not make me happy. Based on that call, I decided action was needed. Since I was now not welcome in the store for a couple of weeks, my plan to talk to him became moot. There was nothing I could say to him to "open his eyes" because he was going to believe her no matter what.

What also upset me greatly was his comment that my daughter was "laughing" during the exchanged. This was blatantly dishonest. My daughter, who is 18 years old, and a credible witness, was horrified. She had witnessed this co-workers attacks on me previously. When she started up with me this time, my daughter said she was "shocked" that anyone could talk to me (or any other co-worker) the way she talked to me, and get away with it. To suggest my daughter "laughed" proves that this was a lie perpetrated by this co-worker. Anyone who knows my daughter knows that she would NEVER laugh at a situation like this. But again, that doesn't matter because this co-worker has no grasp on honesty.

I had some errands to run Sunday. Even though I was still running a low fever (from the cluster gout), there were a few things I needed to take care of. So before anything went any farther, I contacted the head of the CRC (Chicago Rabbinic Council). Because my store is under the supervision of the CRC, it is part of my job to report everything to them. Thankfully, when the last incident happened a few months ago, I notified them and told them I needed to get out of there. I was careful not to say too much and asked them to not say anything just yet to my boss, because I knew it would be used against me.

I went over to the Rabbi's house and told him the story, from beginning to end. Since he knew there were previous issues, he was not totally unaware. He also has dealt with my boss previously and knows what kind of person he is. The Rabbi's reaction was one of complete disbelief. He was stunned that not only was I being singled out for punishment, but that my boss looked the other way at the fact that this co-worker struck me a second time. In his defense, it was possible I didn't mention the first time she hit me, just that I was being treated very poorly.

He then called his associate, the Rabbi who oversees others in my job citywide, and asked to see him (together with me) as soon as possible. As it turned out, the next errand I had to run was where that other Rabbi was. So we all met there a few minutes later.

At this meeting, it was agreed that I was not in the wrong for reacting the way I did. I was struck first, I was cursed at first and I was threatened first. The CRC's stance, at least as they informed me yesterday, is that my boss is complicit and that action must be taken to both insure that I receive what ever money I am owed (I told the CRC I was no longer interested in going back to work for him) and also to ensure the safety of others who fill that position. Furthermore, the Rabbi (the head of the CRC) told me that they have in the past, and are not afraid to again, remove the certification from the store, which ostensibly would put the boss out of business.

Now let me make one thing clear - I do not believe for a moment that the store will lose it's certification. The Rabbi may speak in strong terms, but that could well have just been for my benefit. In all likelihood (in my opinion), they will talk to my boss and they will come to an agreement to hush this whole thing up. Unfortunately for both of them, unless I am paid everything I am owed, AND I receive a letter of apology from both the boss and this co-worker (and if not, I will demand her firing), I am not letting this go.

You have to understand something about me. For my entire life, I have let people (family, teachers, employers) walk all over me. Even when I was sick, I didn't go after the doctors or hospital I was certain was responsible for botching my care. Like a good trooper, I trusted others to look out for me. But I was always disappointed. I have learned that nobody cares enough to actually follow through on most promises. And you know what? I was just as guilty.

But when I recovered from my illness - no thanks to many I relied on - I realized it was all up to me. So when I wanted something done, including my divorce, I did it all myself. This time, they have gone too far. Yes, I trusted my boss to pay me when he said he would. But I allowed it fall through the cracks week after week because I thought I had no choice. Better late than never, I always said. But a lot of it was my own fault as well. Well, I'm done being the passive one. I will not stand silently while I have been wronged any longer. If my boss, or even the CRC thinks that I will lay down at take this, they are all in for a rude awakening.

15 years ago, I had what I always considered my dream job. I did it well and I did it lovingly. I was honored with awards for my work and I was the happiest I had ever been. But a jealous supervisor couldn't stand the fact that the kids I worked for liked me, and liked me much, much more than they liked him. So, with the help of his boss, who two years later was indicted on charges of child and sexual predator abuse, I was forced out. And I was so despondent by it I left with my tail between my legs.

To this day, I regret not standing up and fighting. I was in the right and I was exceptional at the job I did. One reason I never returned to the profession was that the boss' boss (the deviant criminal, who served 7 years in the Rahway prison) threatened me not to speak up. After that, I knew that I would never find another job like that. And I was right. No one would touch me until I was no longer interested in ever going back.

Well, 8 years ago, my life ended and a new one emerged. I realize that this is just a 24-hour a week job, and not some glamorous career. But I have to take a stand regardless. This is far from over.

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