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Is there anything I can do? Is this discrimination?

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Furryposm

Junior Member
I live in Oregon and for a big name box store. This is what is going on. I've been there over 8 years . I keep getting turned down for promotion and/or cross training.


I am a very hard worker, never late to work nor do I have any no call no shows. I might call out 3-4 days per year. I've never been in trouble for anything. Never been told I've done anything wrong.

I do have a disability though. Here are the accommodations I have doctor notes for .
1) I get a 15 minute break every two hours
2) I can have a beverage at my work station
3) I cannot start work before 2 pm
4) I can only work 25 to 30 at the most hours per week

Yet the state requires a 15 minute break in every 4 hour period, so that should be no big deal.
Everyone else is allowed to have drink since I can
I have only worked evenings the entire time, I close every weekend night when most people don't want to
And lastly most jobs here are between these hours, with exception of store managers and security.

So I have been trying to get promoted for the entire time I've been with this company. I think the only reason I am still here is because I feel as though I need to make this right. Or, I don't know maybe I like the challenge??

Anyway I have written letters asking to get help to get promoted , I've spoken to HR , to all the managers and assistant managers. There have been several. I try and get them when they are new to the store, most of them start out saying how they can't understand why I've been treated this way. Yet, once they start looking into it for me, they change their tune and become part of the koolaid crowd ???

I never get help, and when I push for answers, I hear things like " we don't have enough training hours" or we don't need anyone in any other position.

Yet we are constantly hiring new people , and they get all the hours and get trained all over the store? I've specifically applied for one position that I am actually over qualified for, but I have covered it before and enjoyed it. They've actually went as far as hiring people out of the company who have no retail experience at all to take the position instead of giving it to me???

When I asked why I didn't get the job, I was told I was unapproachable? Yet that was never mentioned before or after? And I asked probably 20 coworkers if they saw that at all and they said that was crazy??

I don't get it, I am highly motivated and intelligent, yet they won't promote me ?? They just hired two people over me who appear to have lower intelligence than most. One is hard worker, the other really doesn't do much at all.

So the absolute only thing I can think of to why they won't train me more or promote me is because of my disability . I've never had a bad review or any kind of discipline, so it's the only thing I can think of. Could also be my age(50) however I doubt age has anything to do with it.

I'm sure you'll need more info to make a good guess as to wether I have a case or not, just ask. Also if you think I have a case, how can I prove it? Where do I start?

Thanks
 
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Proserpina

Senior Member
Your employer isn't obliged to promote you.

The only way you could possibly succeed, is if you could prove - and I do mean prove - a title VII violation.
 

Furryposm

Junior Member
The company motto is

To promote from within. There are people all around me getting promoted , without doing anything. I on the other hand apply for all positions available , speak to anyone I think that can help me learn new things yet nothing happens. I've had several people who upon leaving tell me they are all being told not to help me? Yet they say they haven't seen anything that I have done to cause this. I've asked them flat out if it's because of my disability. Several of them have said that its my hours? I was once told by HR that they needed me to be able to work 40 hours a week to get the job I want. Yet I've spent a lot of time keeping track of others who have same job I want. They are only working 25 hours or so a week anyway, sometimes less. There have also been two people who have had the job who only worked nights because they went to school during days. Yet I was told I needed to work days and nights.

Basically they will accommodate others, just not me.

They also cut my hours back to 15 hours a week lately ( yet we're hiring) and I was told if I wanted more hours, I would have to pick up shifts from shift change board ( which I implemented 6 years ago)
However the last two times I tried to pick up shifts from different areas ( which happens weekly) I was told no!

Two different times there were cross training signup sheets put up at HR office .

I thought wow cool I can sign up and finally get trained . Yet I put my name down and under requested cross training area I put any/all .

Both times I was one of a couple more who signed up, they got training hours and I was just told NO!

I don't know what else to think , except it being my disability ?

I've never been fired in my 36 years of working. I was always " teachers pet" in school. I had 4.0 avg in school. I've implemented probably an average of 1 thing at each place I work, and a lot of things are still in place.

Before I got sick, I was the one who came in every single time I was called, stayed late, pretty much did whatever was needed.

This is the first job I've had where I had to get accommodations of any kind. I almost always come in when called though. I used to have to turn employers down because they would often try and get me to work way over 40 hours a week .

The only thing different really is my disability, that's all I can possibly think of why I'm being treated this way?

I was asked to leave one job, ( my sister-in-law was my manager) it was for an auto parts store , and she begged me to leave because I was making her and the others look bad. Because I was constantly finding things to do and never stopped organizing and cleaning. However when I wasn't there they all basically stood around in the shop area smoking until a customer came in and needed help.

I'm from the "old school" of working , " if you have time to lean, you have time to clean" . I feel as though if I'm just standing around while at work, it's basically stealing. Since I'm getting paid to work , that is what I do.

So, I can't see how my work or the job I do has any effect on why I'm not getting promoted?

I've actually never had a job other than this one and the one with my SIL that didn't try to promote me, or basically use me to the best of my ability. Because of my work ethic.

Right now I'm in a guest service role , and I bend over backwards to help my guests. I also buy lollipops to give out to all my guests ( which is about $10 a week) I have games set up so they don't get bored waiting in line. I've given of myself whenever needed through hugs , donations to just listening. And whenever my area is in need, and the company either won't it is taking too long, I purchase the stuff myself to make sure things run smoothly.

I wanted to mention all that so you can see I'm not lazy and I have good work ethic. Yet these others who get promoted or cross trained usually don't work as hard as I do. One guy was promoted even after not showing up for his shifts or even calling to say why. One girl who has the job I want, she does nothing but write notes and draw pictures between guests???

Unless I can convince myself this is futile and I leave, this will probably be the last job I have before I retire. I take great pride in the job I do to. But a lot of these people are young kids, who could care less where they work, or even if they have a job tomorrow.

I just want what is rightfully mine and I'm trying to figure out how to get it.

Obviously any help is greatly appreciated!
 

cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
The very fact that you can refer to a promotion as "rightfully yours" is telling - and not telling us anything good.

BTW, Oregon requires two ten minute breaks in a day, not 15 minute.
 

Furryposm

Junior Member
I'm not sure what you mean by that?

It's difficult for me to describe exactly how I feel about this ? However it's really hard to go to work and feel as though I'm not good enough to be promoted . Or even given the chance by being what they call " developed" . In the company manual and the yearly company review, it talks about how they are proud of how they promote from within. And how they try and "develop" all employees so they can be their best. Yet I sit on sidelines waiting patiently (8 years) to get developed . While others get called out to the field to play and a lot of times lose the game.

I'm not trying to sound like I'm better than others , because I'm not. But I'm not even being given the chance to blossom let alone enough water to survive .

And I'm sorry I misstated the break times. The company is the one who sets the 15 minutes then. Most companies I've worked for set that time then. I was trying to point out my accommodations are really no big deal. It's not like I can't perform all aspects of my job .

Although I had to get the doctor to help me with breaks as when I started, they would have my work 4-5 hours before a break. I could not do that, it was taking a huge toll on my health . But I tried to keep up. I'm not asking for special treatment, just the ability to try to succeed.

One of the times I put my application in for the one job I want, I was told I was not going to be interviewed because I couldn't open my availability to completely open and 40 hours a week. I then went to HR and asked if she could check The ADA website and see if I could apply with my hour restrictions. The next day I was interviewed. Only to find out the job was already filled the day before I was interviewed.
 

Furryposm

Junior Member
The very fact that you can refer to a promotion as "rightfully yours" is telling - and not telling us anything good.

BTW, Oregon requires two ten minute breaks in a day, not 15 minute.
BTW when I said I only want what is rightfully mine, I was not speaking of that specific job. What I meant was, I should be allowed to learn and be developed like I was told when I started. I don't want anything I haven't earned. I want the " right " that is supposed to be given to me by law. I want to be treated as an equal regardless of my disability. I only want what I can earn, like I said before I work my ass off to get my job done. I take pride in whatever job I do. Wether I'm cleaning toilets or writing contracts , I put the same amount of effort in to it. I'm not asking for "ANYTHING " be given to me without being earned.


It's kind of like they have a score on their review ratings. The rating is like this

A) does outstanding work regularly
B) does regular job and sometimes exceeds
C) comes to work and does job
D) shows up for work but needs improvement.

So you would think if you always go above and beyond, and you're scored on like 20 different areas , that you should be able to achieve at least one A out of 20, right?

Nope, they say no one ever gets an A , let alone several.
So why put it there? I strived really hard for first 3 years to get at least one A ( was A student in school)

So just like that scoring, why say you're willing to help someone exceed in your company, yet when they truly want to, you won't let them? Unless like I think it's discrimination ( store level)?

What else am I to think?
 

cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
Here's one thing to think.

Not even the ADA requires the employer to "accommodate" away an actual requirement of the job. If it is an essential function of the job that you work 40 hours a week, and you cannot work 40 hours a week, nothing in the ADA or any other law is going to require them to give you that job.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
Here's one thing to think.

Not even the ADA requires the employer to "accommodate" away an actual requirement of the job. If it is an essential function of the job that you work 40 hours a week, and you cannot work 40 hours a week, nothing in the ADA or any other law is going to require them to give you that job.
And if the hours for that job would require someone that can be there before 2:00, again, there is nothing in the ADA or any other law to require them to give you that job.
 

RRevak

Senior Member
OP I have a sneaky suspicion your restrictions are hindering your ability to get a promotion but nobody wants to stand up and say so. Is it REALLY necessary to have the specific ones you have because honestly I feel you're going to have to make a choice. Either find ways to overcome some of the hindrances (low hours per week or the nothing before 2pm) or accept that you're going to remain where you are.
 

commentator

Senior Member
It's a little sweet and innocent that you honestly think a "big box store" is overall in any way in the business of promoting or developing anyone, within or without. If you're a problem to them, they get rid of you, and go for the next warm body, regardless. The lower down you are on the rungs of the employment ladder (and big box store part time worker is pretty far down there) the less well you are going to be treated. This is the reality of today's work world.

I can see that you are a highly verbal person, a well educated person who obviously makes a lot of their needs, wants and wishes known to management as soon as you come into a job. It's amazing to me that they haven't figured out a way to get rid of you yet. That you've gotten the accommodation you've gotten (same shift, restricted hours, allowed to have drinks at your work station) is pretty much spectacular. It is a testament to your good work that you've accomplished this much as far as getting yourself accommodated and you've not been jettisoned yet on some pretext or another.

Yes, I'm sure that new managers come into the store and find you a very nice person, but they'll quickly discover if they don't know it already that the whole business of being a manager for one of these operations is to give away the least possible wages for the most possible amount of work. The employees that they have to have are nameless faceless clones, very interchangeable. You're an individual, and a problem, and a slightly scary problem to them from the get go.

This is not just a case of a small employer not knowing that they are violating ADA requirements or thinking they can get away with it. They will have gone deep into HR and legal (they have huge ones in big box stores) and have fully researched exactly how much accommodation they have to make for an employee in your situation. As cbg points out, they certainly do not have to give you another job if the requirements of that job do not align with the accommodations they're already giving you.

Quite frankly, I'd say you have reached the limit of where you're going with this particular employer. Keep raising enough issues about why you're not being promoted, and your hours will be cut more and more, until they've gradually walked you out the door. You might, in that case, qualify for unemployment benefits, but you'll still not "have a case" against them for discrimination.

By the way, stop giving out lollipops and hugs to people in line. You're trying too hard, making yourself stand out in not a good way. That's a little creepy and over the top, IMHO.
 
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Furryposm

Junior Member
Here's one thing to think.

Not even the ADA requires the employer to "accommodate" away an actual requirement of the job. If it is an essential function of the job that you work 40 hours a week, and you cannot work 40 hours a week, nothing in the ADA or any other law is going to require them to give you that job.
That's the thing, the job does not require 40 hours and all shifts. Like I said before there are students doing the job who go to school until 4 pm and only work 25 hours a week and closing shifts . If it was required, like the supervisor position, I would not try and apply for it.
 

Furryposm

Junior Member
It's a little sweet and innocent that you honestly think a "big box store" is overall in any way in the business of promoting or developing anyone, within or without. If you're a problem to them, they get rid of you, and go for the next warm body, regardless. The lower down you are on the rungs of the employment ladder (and big box store part time worker is pretty far down there) the less well you are going to be treated. This is the reality of today's work world.

I can see that you are a highly verbal person, a well educated person who obviously makes a lot of their needs, wants and wishes known to management as soon as you come into a job. It's amazing to me that they haven't figured out a way to get rid of you yet. That you've gotten the accommodation you've gotten (same shift, restricted hours, allowed to have drinks at your work station) is pretty much spectacular. It is a testament to your good work that you've accomplished this much as far as getting yourself accommodated and you've not been jettisoned yet on some pretext or another.

Yes, I'm sure that new managers come into the store and find you a very nice person, but they'll quickly discover if they don't know it already that the whole business of being a manager for one of these operations is to give away the least possible wages for the most possible amount of work. The employees that they have to have are nameless faceless clones, very interchangeable. You're an individual, and a problem, and a slightly scary problem to them from the get go.

This is not just a case of a small employer not knowing that they are violating ADA requirements or thinking they can get away with it. They will have gone deep into HR and legal (they have huge ones in big box stores) and have fully researched exactly how much accommodation they have to make for an employee in your situation. As cbg points out, they certainly do not have to give you another job if the requirements of that job do not align with the accommodations they're already giving you.

Quite frankly, I'd say you have reached the limit of where you're going with this particular employer. Keep raising enough issues about why you're not being promoted, and your hours will be cut more and more, until they've gradually walked you out the door. You might, in that case, qualify for unemployment benefits, but you'll still not "have a case" against them for discrimination.

By the way, stop giving out lollipops and hugs to people in line. You're trying too hard, making yourself stand out in not a good way. That's a little creepy and over the top, IMHO.
I really appreciate your post here. Looking at it from your perspective is something I've never done, or maybe just didn't want to.

I've decided to go into store manager and ask him what he sees that I could change to be of more value to them. I'm going to ask that he be brutally honest to me. Hopefully this will help me to succeed. I'm not trying to get more money, I just want to be able to be treated normal. And be able to excel at whatever job I end up in.

Just a note about the hugs and candy. I only give hugs to people who are either crying or having a really rough day, and I ask first. And the lollipops are in a box that says take one. I do put out a question of the day where they can get chocolate if answered correctly. Everyone seems to like that. I'm the ONLY one with a green ( positive ) score at guest service. Everyone else is yellow or red . So I know I'm good at my job!

Again thanks for the input! I'll give update in a week or two!


Also, I do know that I'm "just a tool" to them. That's what's father taught me. Although he also taught me to speak up for myself too!

But every year the execs come to our store and tell us how important we are and how they want us to succeed like they did!
 
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cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
Just one more word here:

If you are really as good at your job as you say (I'm not questioning you - I have nothing but your self-assessment to go by but I have no reason to disbelieve you either), it is not impossible, not uncommon, and not illegal, for an employer to decide that you are too valuable where you are and refuse to promote or transfer you because they don't want to lose you in the position where you have already proved your worth. Fair? That's a subjective call with more than one answer. Legal? Absolutely.
 

Furryposm

Junior Member
Just one more word here:

If you are really as good at your job as you say (I'm not questioning you - I have nothing but your self-assessment to go by but I have no reason to disbelieve you either), it is not impossible, not uncommon, and not illegal, for an employer to decide that you are too valuable where you are and refuse to promote or transfer you because they don't want to lose you in the position where you have already proved your worth. Fair? That's a subjective call with more than one answer. Legal? Absolutely.
That is what one person said when I was doing my last job there, but I saw people I thought were just as good as I. However they were moving up? I've just never been in a situation where I had to beg to learn more. It was usually pushed on me and I always accepted gratefully. One time I asked to be just one of the " helpers" at an adult day care. However when I showed up for my first day, I found out they had made me manager. I've always been the one who employers turn to for help or " extra" duties and I never had to ask. But back then I was also working 2-3 jobs at 60-80 hours a week . I was work-a-holic, which is what actually put me in this position in the first place. I see others doing same thing, and tell them to S L O W down . Because not being able to basically live at work drives me nuts.
I've had several jobs, but I usually get bored easy and move on. I think that's a big reason I am still here, there is still a ton to learn.
 

cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
I do not mean this nastily. I really, truly do not.

Sweetheart, you need to get a life. Seriously.
 

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