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So-Called White Privilege?

by Ray
(Seattle)

I worked for a private security company in Seattle for 16 months before I gave written notice I was quitting and moving back to California. I was a supervisor after only a few weeks with the company. I worked my butt off. Never late and never missed a day.


However, as time goes, I became disillusioned with this company. I had an employee who worked under my supervision, and I caught them doing something very inappropriate and illegal with the security cameras while on his shift.

I documented the incident, reported it to my supervisors (with video evidence and pictures) of the incidents. They ensured me immediate disciplinary action (against this employee) would be taken. It never was.

This employee has had a history of serious disciplinary problems (embarrassing at that) that have brought reproach and a lack of credibility to his employer without punitive actions.

However, others who I supervised (African Americans) were either reassigned for questionable allegations at best the first time an accusation was made against them.

One black employee had had enough of biased and unfair actions and this one officer seemingly had 9 lives.

I found myself falsely accused by an employee and that made it necessary for me (an African American, to be removed from my site.

Due to the unfair and biased disciplinary actions, I decided I could no longer work at this company. I wrote up this white male employee (who happens to be a friend) for serious misconduct at work (many times) to no avail. The allegation of his last misconduct in Washington state is a Class C Felony was the straw that broke the camel's back for me.

Due to having to report the matter to the client, the company decided to keep the matter quiet. It would bring media attention and a major embarrassment for the company.

Company policy dictates any violation of an employee that cause the company to lose a contract with a client or bring reproach against the employer by an employee are all reasons for termination.

All the years (to include before I got there) this employee was a major disciplinary problem with little or no corrective action until I arrived. I absolutely like this employee. yet however nothing has been able to correct his lack of discipline.

As a supervisor I had to work OT a lot of times due to this employee's routine sick calls. One time he called in sick from San Diego because (allegedly) he could not make it back 1000 miles on time.

This was constantly an issue and soon a major problem for me. Since I reported a more serious issue (voyeurism) using a client security cameras for explicit purposes while watching an unsuspecting female undress, I decided enough for me and that it was useless to to even address issues with them anymore.

I applied for unemployment. Next phone interview to show good cause. You think I am justified?

Chris's Answer:



I'm not African American, however, I'll try to relate as the woman I am, aware of what misogyny is for me.

In my opinion you are completely justified to file that claim for unemployment benefits.

Your story tugs at me on that level where I ponder what is .. my own subjective feelings about working for a living, as well as to hit back at the systemic problems of at will employment, which I abhor because those problems start with employees and often allow a company to feel free to run and dictate a hidden subversive and noncompliant culture of work and continue to get away with it .. thanks to those they have over a barrel, called a job.

In
my mind, it's what remains hidden, in order for a company to working in the ultimate authority's opinion, that makes decent people, with a steadfast belief they have a right to not only live free, but cling to the idea they are free to work for a living while adhering to a democratic society's basic moral codes, that allows Americans some latitude in the right to control the amount of stuff they do at work, but often ends up going to the grave with us as those things we regret doing, or wish we had handled better .. and all for the sake of our own ability to keep on making a buck for ourselves and family.

I'll get off my soapbox temporarily and show you some potential for good cause for a voluntary quit in Washington State.

You mentioned a few things that suggest there was quite disparate treatment of minority employees as compared to what happened to caucasians, when they broke rules. This leads me to asking a question.

What prevented you, from reporting this type of discrimination based on race, even if it wasn't happening to you directly as it is your right per the following found on the EEOC website.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against at work because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information, you can file a Charge of Discrimination. All of the laws enforced by EEOC, except for the Equal Pay Act, require you to file a Charge of Discrimination with us before you can file a job discrimination lawsuit against your employer. In addition, an individual, organization, or agency may file a charge on behalf of another person in order to protect the aggrieved person's identity. There are time limits for filing a charge.

Well employees already know why they don't report employer wrongdoing, and most don't care that they are also protected from retaliation for reporting.

And as far as you not taking the initiative to report a serious crime committed by a subordinate of yours (which you had proof of, by the way).. because the security company was concerned the client would bolt, or in my opinion, more likely fear the security company would be opened up to multiple avenues of civil liability given this employees past ..

Well, as a woman, I have a problem with that as being a lame excuse for not reporting it to the police .. because ultimately, that might of helped when it came to proving good cause for being instructed by an employer to not report a crime and proof, or not, I wouldn't spare the details of this incident when you participate in the adjudication phone call for unemployment benefits.

Far as I'm concerned it's a victim who succumbs to fear and retaliation to remain silent and that is what leads to the breakdown of workplace cultures that just spin out of control to become the full on type we all bitch about as being full of fear and intimidation .. if we don't fall in line with what is clear, or not so clear as being non-compliance of laws .. by an employer.

It's our right as at-will employees, to bitch and try to resolve when things go wrong at, or with our jobs and to do so without fear of retaliation.

But most of all, when we bitch .. we need proof of some sort, whether documentation, or vid, date stamped emails, or texts, or rules of the employer, or whatever, to weight our stories for an unemployment department .. to avoid forcing them into deciding who is being more credible.



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