DS v. Goliath...How good can triumph over evil
I am writing this because I won my unemployment appeal after quitting my job. It's not impossible and you can do it too. It just takes some work and a little faith and hope.
I worked my last job for about three and a half years. During that time I was harassed and discriminated to the point of health problems.
During my last year at my job, I was isolated, threatened with physical violence by my supervisor, had all my resources taken away from me, and finally was ignored when I pleaded for help to my supervisor after I was threatened again at my place of work by someone else.
I had no choice but to quit in order to preserve my mental and physical well-being.
From the beginning all I ever wanted was to do my job to the best of my ability and to be promoted higher and higher. I always had the best interests of my company in mind. At first I loved my job. I made friends with everyone in the building including the staff. In my line of work the staff usually kept to themselves but I don't believe in segregation. These relationships have come to help me recently.
Things started heating up after we lost our only human supervisor. This is when I started to become extremely detail oriented as far as my job goes. I kept a hard copy of every e-mail sent to me. I journaled specific meetings and events. I told everybody what was happening to me. I found out that others were being harassed too.
I wrote detailed lists of specific job duties that were not applicable to me and I filed grievances. I wrote e-mails begging for help, to my supervisor. If I saw my job was calling I let them leave a voicemail etc.
I knew that I was being targeted because I am a competent decent employee who stood up for my rights and the rights of the others who were too scared to speak. I was the only minority, and the only one in my department to attend union negotiation meetings so that if somehow I made it through things would be better not only for me, but for those who came after me.
Sadly I did not get to enjoy the fruits of my labor when the union contract was signed, but because of me, everyone in my department now gets paid more, has a stipend and bonuses on production and other benefits.
The day after I quit, I did two things, I applied for unemployment and I went to legal aid to get a lawyer to help with the unemployment appeal (in case there would be one). About one month later, I got the notice that my unemployment was denied. By then I was so tired, I contemplated not filing the appeal. I thought it was hopeless.
But, I ended up filing the appeal on the second to last day not hoping for much, but I had read somewhere on this website that if I had close to 8,000.00 coming to me from some other source I would fight for it wouldn't I? So I did.
In my first glimmer of hope legal aid
came through for me and I was assigned the most competent paralegal I have ever met in my life. He's been in this business for 31 years and I don't know what I would have done without him. He knows and cares more than most lawyers. He rooted through approx. 200 pages of documentation and made a solid case for my unemployment appeal. He ran through a mock appeal with me. When the day of the appeal came I was ready. All my documents had been sent, my witnesses subpeonaed.
I sat there and told the God's honest truth and my employer hung himself with his own lies. My appeal began at 10:30 am and ended at 12:00pm. The decision was reversed in my favor and up on the internet that same day by 5:00pm. There was a check in my hand the same week.
So why me? How was my case different? Here are my tips:
1. Document, document, document. If you have to ask your boss a question send an email. If your boss says he wants to speak with you have someone come in the room with you or make a record of the meeting yourself.
2. Talk to people. I had 4 witnesses, 3 of whom still work there willing to stand up for me at my hearing. I made it known while I still worked there that I was willing to do what it took to help them and I backed it up, when the time came they were willing to do the same for me.
3. Take advantage of the system that is there to help you. Filing an appeal is free and if you can legal aid is free too. But even if you have to pay for representation it will be worth it to you in the end.
4. Stand up for your rights. No one has the right to abuse you just because they are paying you.
5. Stand up for the rights of the person next to you. I can not stress this enough. Evil bosses depend on the fact that employees are not going to help each other. Maybe if one person sees that you are willing to help it will start a chain reaction that gets more people on board.
In the end, little ol me won a small yet powerful victory over huge them.
Oh, they continue to harass me and have recently filed an appeal with the UAC but what I have gained is a lot in my eyes. I learned that I am strong. I learned that even when I am terrified I will not discontinue to do what is right. I learned that workplace abuse is real and I will never suffer through that again.
This journey is not easy. I lost my job, my house, my church (my pastor blamed me for the abuse I suffered at work) and strained some relationships. I am still here though and I will continue to fight the good fight to the best of my ability because at the end of the day I don't want those what if's to be ruminating in my head. Thanks for reading this and be blessed. I am truly and deeply blessed.