BONDFIRES

A movement to eradicate racism together

WORKING THROUGH BILL168-My Story cont’d

“I opened the envelope and reviewed the report. Then, I SNAPPED! “

As I continued to wait for information back from the “investigator” I was continuously subjected to humiliation and abuse. Some  events were bold and brazen like a staff meeting that I was finally able to attend. I was also asked to present some housing information at the meeting. When the Supervisor finished talking about a new protocol for the shelter, she turned to me and asked me to present my information. When I started to speak, she turned her back towards me and started a very loud conversation with a colleague (this colleague, another black woman was fired a few days after this event).  I stopped speaking and waited for their conversation to end. My colleague looked at me apologetically. Each time I started to speak,  the Supervisor found something else to say to my colleague. This continued even though I offered to wait until their conversation was finished, the Supervisor would say go ahead then, she would continue to talk over me.  As I was leaving the staff meeting  a different colleague followed me into my office . She pushed the door closed and gasped  ” Did you see that!”   flicking her blonde hair over her shoulder. I nodded. “I can’t believe anyone would be so immature and  unprofessional!”.   I explained the situation to her. She immediately launched into problem solving and offering suggestions that I had already tried. Yes, I contacted the Union, the Labour Board, the Human Rights Commission. In fact the only new suggestion was to contact the EAP-Employee Assistance Program. A few days later she text me the phone number. Meanwhile, the harassment continued and went from brazen to downright bizarre. On June 13, 2011 I received the following email from the Supervisor …

“I have made some changes to your time sheet (another lost of pay) and I also have some questions regarding your scheduled hrs. On Monday May 6 and Friday May 10 , you stayed an extra 1 hr. could you tell me why?”. 

I was not sure how to answer since the dates she had mentioned were more than a month old and she had signed the original time sheet, processed the payment and paid the hour. I found my original job description and reviewed it. It was common place and a job requirement to be available to work extra hours as required to assist clients. The common practise was to adjust your hours as needed but not to exceed 80 hrs. in a payperiod. I decided to check with other Housing Workers to see if they had received direction to do otherwise.   As I was typing my response, I received a voice mail from the Supervisor, telling me I was taking too long,  and threatening to write me up for insubordination. I sent the following response…

I noted the changes you made on my time sheet and I would like to know if something has changed in the way the agency calculates these hours? Please advise. In regards to my schedule, the requirements of  the Housing Worker job, which I have always worked by, is to accommodate clients needs which may require adjusting my hours slightly. having checked with the other Housing Workers, i’m not aware of any changes made to this job requirement. In regards to my time worked on May 6 and  May 10, I would only say that I stayed to accommodate clients in keeping with the expectations of my job. I don’t understand this untimely request about these dates as my time sheets were submitted, processed and paid more than a month ago and you did not identify this as an issue.  A few days later, I received the following response…

 “Right event! Wrong dates! So what  hours were you working  June 6 ?”

I seemed this woman was seriously coming unglued! While I was still trying to sort out a response, to this bizarre (and …RANDOM) request when the Executive Director walked into my office with an envelope in her hand. I noticed the lack of eye contact on her part.  She said the investigation was finished and the investigator had completed a report. The envelope contained the Investigators report .  She suggested that I read it at home. She put the envelope on the corner of my desk and quickly left the office. I stared at the envelope for a long time, allowing myself to reflect on the events leading up to this envelope.  For more than 4 years I had been working hard and receiving excellent evaluations for my efforts. Then, one day, I was asked to do a simple favor for my Supervisor; to come to work , on my day off and accompany a client to an appointment in Toronto.  On May 2, 2011,  I successfully completed that assignment. A few days later, my life changed  and I became the target of bullying, harassment and discrimination in my workplace. I believed that I followed the appropriate protocol to highlight what was happening to me and make it stop.  To me, the contents of the envelope sitting on the corner of the desk, represented the agency’s response to my cry for help. I opened the envelope and reviewed the report. Then, I SNAPPED!TO BE CONTINUED 

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