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  • EEOC- incompetant?

    I am breinging this story to this forum for several reasons.
    First, I have an experience to share. If you can find a way to learn from this, I'm happy for you.
    Second, I'm bringing to light the inadequate services of the EEOC. And hopefully steer someone from making the same mistakes.
    Third, I always welcome insight. Constructive insight, that is.

    Earlier this year I applied for a job at a hardware store. A week later I checked up on it and spoke with Mark, the manager. He asked me a lot of questions about my past employement.

    *Now before I go on, I feel it's only proper to disclose that here as it's very relavent to the case. Anyhow, I have a disability. More often than not when employers learn of it, they fire me. You know the rule- they can fire anyone for anything. Well, it's so easy for them to cook up an excuse. They cannot say "we don't want you here because you have a disability". Even though several have indeed said that very thing to me. Instead, they don't like that I have a disability, so they say things like "we don't think you'll work out". Or something like that. So because I have a disability that is literally not "approved of" by employers, I get my *** canned.*

    Ok, with that said, so Mark asks. I tell him the truth- I have a disability and most employers don't approve of it. He asked me why. I told him "there is nothing about my disability that will interfere with me doing my job and I'm not asking for any accomodations under the ADA". Then he made a big mistake- he kept pushing and prodding for what the disability is. I finally gave in and told him "it's none of your **** business". And in reality, it's not.

    That's covered under the ADA. Unless I am asking for accomodations or expect my disability to affect me doing my job, I am not obligated to disclose the nature or origin of my disability. And in this case, as I experienced what I feel is retaliation, they, the potential employer, is agains in violation for refusing to hire me because they don't feel I have the right to tell the manager "it's none of your **** business". Ok, I realize it's not exactly tactful, but what is his badgering?

    Well, I filed a formal complaint with the EEOC in Denver. They have called me and asked me questions, had me sign a charge, and even got to the point that one of the investigators called me one morning and woke me up to ask me more questions. Now ehre I gotta add a bit of info- I'm also on the volunteer fire department. I'm a violunteer firefighter. I had a call out that morning, and I took it upon myself to get some well deserved sleep. I told the investigator that and asked he to call back later when I was awake. She never returned my call.

    Yesterday I got a final decision from the EEOC. They decided to close the case bcause they can't prove it happened. Ok, let's allow common sense to play a role here. If you are an employer and you don't want a disabled man to work for you, and you discriminate against him for that, would you admit to that when the EEOC asks you? DUH-UH! I don't f*****g think so! Well, that is what they did. They asked.

    I then went in and asked the owner what the problem is. He was very forthright about it- I had no right to tell the manager it's none of his **** business. So I apologized to him for having a disability and for excercisng my rights as an American. After all, to expect that I, a cripple, has any rights to begin with is ludacris.

    So here I am. A disabled American. And I have no rights under any kind of law. The EEOC has shown this time (and another) that I am not covered by the ADA, even though I have a valid and verifiable disability. I am less of a human. Less of an American. In fact, as I have found, since I am not allowed any rights Americans are, I apparently must not be an American.

    Here I am. A man that serves on a volunteer fire department (and yes the officers are aware of my disability), I have served in this nations military, I had my own business for nealy 18 years, and I am less of an American.


    Maybe you can accept this. maybe the federal EEOC can accept this as well. I know I sure as hell can't. And I ain't. Do I have an issue with this? Oh, you have no idea!
    I don't believe what I write, and neither should you. Information furnished to you is for debate purposes only, be sure to verify with your own research.
    Keep in mind that the information provided may not be worth any more than either a politician's promise or what you paid for it (nothing).
    I also may not have been either sane or sober when I wrote it down.
    Don't worry, be happy.

    http://www.rcfp.org/taping/index.html is a good resource!

  • #2
    Cactus, since you are a volunteer firefighter, you obviously don't have a disability that is in any way apparent, i.e. you're not blind, not in a wheelchair, etc.

    Your disability isn't visible and you aren't asking for any accommodations. Therefore I don't understand how it is your past employers have even found out about it or why it comes up in an interview.

    Comment


    • #3
      yes, they're govt

      eeoc incompetent? I'd agree. But you should see the nlrb! well, one day everyone can share their horror stories with govt. agencies.

      I'd return to the EEOC and have another go at it. One argument is that if the alleged incident/comment did not happen, then why were you denied a job a you were otherwise qualified for (I assume you were otherwise qualified). That should have been in their analysis. My guess is that without answering the further questions, that mornign phone call, they simply rolled up the carpet and went home.

      curt j.

      Comment


      • #4
        Beth, it's not visible. I have a head injury. Several, actually. But in the 20 years I've had it I found that when people head "head injury" they start classifying it down- head = brain = mental = Freddy Krueger. Man, I may have to write a book on all the crap I've had to put up with.

        Well, I spoke with a rep from my senator's office and he's sending me a complaint packet. Amazing how the owner feels hismanager has tohe right to ask me such questions. Shocking that the EEOC agrees.
        I don't believe what I write, and neither should you. Information furnished to you is for debate purposes only, be sure to verify with your own research.
        Keep in mind that the information provided may not be worth any more than either a politician's promise or what you paid for it (nothing).
        I also may not have been either sane or sober when I wrote it down.
        Don't worry, be happy.

        http://www.rcfp.org/taping/index.html is a good resource!

        Comment


        • #5
          ADA/EEOC guidelines on this are pretty clear. If, during an interview, the candidate brings up the fact that he has a disability or medical condition, the employer may then inquire further about it.

          Cactus, I think you should just stop telling employers/prospective employers about your head injury. Unless I'm missing something, it appears that would solve the problem.

          Comment


          • #6
            Beth, good point and I have even done so. But it's pretty hard to not diclose it after a while. Prospective employer gets curious why I have so many short term jobs. He asks, what then? Lie to him? No, not my way. I ain't gonna lie. Other jobs, bosses have asked where I get my money from, somany short term jobs, nothing current, I gotta have a way of making ends meet. Same thing- do I lie? No. I generally tell them it's none of their business. My money, my business. Next thing I know, the boss is looking for reasons to fire me.

            Coincidentally I have had several employers that were successful. One job that was initially agreed to be short term (and if I'm willing to move back to that state I'd have a job waiting, but cook is not my prefered title); another that was intended to be long term until I got a job offer of twice the pay (and my boss told me to go for it); and then the job that I was offered at twice the pay rate I had to let go because I lost where I was living. Kinda hard to keep a job at a restaurant if you're gonna be living in a dumpster, if you know what I mean.

            So what then? Does an employer have the right to ask me where I get the money to live on? I don't think so. They're hiring me, not my checkbook. Does the employer have the rioght to push and badger until they get answers? I don't think so.
            I don't believe what I write, and neither should you. Information furnished to you is for debate purposes only, be sure to verify with your own research.
            Keep in mind that the information provided may not be worth any more than either a politician's promise or what you paid for it (nothing).
            I also may not have been either sane or sober when I wrote it down.
            Don't worry, be happy.

            http://www.rcfp.org/taping/index.html is a good resource!

            Comment


            • #7
              I think the problem is, to be blunt (like you ) you have a bad attitude. To talk to an employer, supervisor or co-worker in that manner (i.e., "its none of your **** business", "my money, my business", etc.) is disrespectful and unprofessional. If you want longevity in your employment, then you are going to need to learn to bite your tongue. There are a lot of different responses you can give someone without being rude, to avoid divulging personal information.

              As was stated previously, stop mentioning your disability. If someone asks why you were terminated from a previous position, you can either admit that you are a problem employee with a negative attitude (and continue to not get hired) or you can come up with a different answer that puts you and your previous employment in a more positive light. Also, saying anything negative about your previous employer, company, boss, co-workers, etc. is the "KISS OF DEATH" in a job interview.

              You are definitely going to have to come up with a different answer (other than the BLUNT TRUTH) about why you have job-hopped so much. I don't see that as lying, I see that as selling yourself. If you are a good employee, a hard worker, a team player that would be an asset to a company, then you owe it to yourself and to your prospective employer to sell yourself. But if you are someone with a bad or negative attitude, with a chip on your shoulder, always ready to complain or file lawsuits, then maybe you should just continue being "blunt" (i.e., rude and unprofessional) in your interviews and continue to not get hired.

              Comment


              • #8
                Bad attitude. Honestly, you're not the first to say it. Then again, what can be expeted? Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed?

                I guess it's a matter of opinion on what privacy is. To me, an employer has no business asking such questions. And Beth, the EEOC even agrees on that. Here is what I have from them-

                >Under the law, employers generally cannot ask disability-related questions or
                >require medical examinations until after an applicant has been given a
                >conditional job offer. This is because, in the past, this information was
                >frequently used to exclude applicants with disabilities before their ability to
                >perform a job was evaluated.
                >
                >Employers are permitted to ask limited questions about reasonable
                >accommodation if they reasonably believe that the applicant may need
                >accommodation because of an obvious or voluntarily disclosed disability, or
                >where the applicant has disclosed a need for accommodation. Employers
                >may ask if the applicant will need an accommodation to perform a specific
                >job duty, and if the answer is yes, the employer may then ask what the
                >accommodation would be. The employer may not ask any questions
                >about the nature or severity of the disability.
                The need for
                >accommodation cannot be used as a reason for not hiring the applicant
                >unless the employer can demonstrate that providing the accommodation
                >would impose "undue hardship" upon the employer. See
                >http://www.eeoc.gov/types/ada.html.

                Ok, so the EEOC and I agree on that. Yet even though that is precisely what the issue is, they overlooked it. I'm unsure if they were simply too busy to handle this case properly or if they just wanted it gone. In either case I have a valid complaint regarding the EEOC because they are federal employees paid to handle employment discrimination cases for the citizens. If they can't do their job correctly because of case load, then they need to hire someone that can.

                But in regards to what you said about being disrespectful and unprofessional, isn't asking a persona about their personal finances rude and unprofessional? To me it's an "eye for an eye" issue. If they want respect, I'll give them the same basic respect everyone gets until they earn it from me. Sound a bit arrogant, i suppose? Well Silver, TWENTY YEARS of this garbage kinda makes one arrogant. It comes with the territory. I have had fellow employees ask me those things before as well. What should I say instead of "my money, my business"? Tell them what they want to know then ask them if they'd like to review my checkbook to make sure my finances meet their approval? I don't think so! Never ceases to amaze me how people feel that where I get my disability or money from is their business.

                So yeah Silver. I'm rude. I'm blunt. But as the employers that respected me and my privacy will atest to- I'm a good hard worker. But if it means I eat out of garbage cans to keep people from sticking their noses into business that ain't theirs, no biggie. BTDT before.
                \
                Coincidentally, when I disclosed my disability to the fire chief, he asked me before I disclosed it "does it affect your job? Is it going to cause any risks to yourself or the other firefighters?" I said no, and he said that he doesn't have to hear it.

                Any surprise that I'm still there? Because it may not be everyday and I may not be the best, but I do my job.
                I don't believe what I write, and neither should you. Information furnished to you is for debate purposes only, be sure to verify with your own research.
                Keep in mind that the information provided may not be worth any more than either a politician's promise or what you paid for it (nothing).
                I also may not have been either sane or sober when I wrote it down.
                Don't worry, be happy.

                http://www.rcfp.org/taping/index.html is a good resource!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hey Cactus, there is no question or doubt that people can be rude and inappropriate, especially in light of what you have shared in your post in regards to your disability. The guy who asked you about your disability and kept pressing for details seems to me to have acted against ADA guidelines and should be reprimanded. I think however that your gruffness with the EEOC prompted the investigator to think your case was unfounded because of what they perceived was a bad attitude on your part (when you told them to call you back because you wanted to sleep.) Yes you deserved your sleep, and yes your case (in my unprofessional opinion) warranted an investigation, but I think unfortunately your abrasiveness did you a major disservice here.

                  The fact that anyone would ask you for more details (even if you mentioned it in a conversation) shows they are intrusive. If I were speaking to a co-worker that I didn't know very well, and they mentioned they had a disability but it wasn't readily apparent what that disability was, I would definitely not say anything else or inquire further. If they were a co-worker that I considered a friend, and they stated they had a disability but it wasn't obvious to me what it was, I would ask, "What is it, if you don't mind my asking?" and even then it would depend on the person.

                  If I knew you to some degree, and you were a co-worker that I considered a friend, I would probably already know that you are a private person and when you are ready to share more with me, you will. Therefore I wouldn't ask you any more questions on the matter. There are a lot of very rude and nosy people out in the world. I've worked and befriended (and sometimes have been related to) many of them.

                  I am like you in that I am a private person, but instead of saying whatever is on my mind and being blunt in my answer with them ("Don't you have a job to do instead of badgering me?" or "Mind your own **** business!"), I usually respond to rude or badgering questions with silence, a shrug, or a vague answer. Thats not earning me any "friend points" but I think its an appropriate response to nosy and inappropriate questions in the workplace.

                  I know how tough it is to be job hunting, and unfairly picked over when you are a worthwhile candidate. I just felt you deserved some honest feedback. I hope you learn to bite your tongue, it will really serve you much better than your propensity to be blunt. As the Bible says, "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." Good advice.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks, Silver. Perhaps biting my tongue is best. Can't say it's gonna be easy, though. And after putting up with this for this long, I can't say I want to try. Guess that's my arrogance kicking in again.

                    I think I'll stay self-employed. Kinda hard to fire myself.
                    I don't believe what I write, and neither should you. Information furnished to you is for debate purposes only, be sure to verify with your own research.
                    Keep in mind that the information provided may not be worth any more than either a politician's promise or what you paid for it (nothing).
                    I also may not have been either sane or sober when I wrote it down.
                    Don't worry, be happy.

                    http://www.rcfp.org/taping/index.html is a good resource!

                    Comment

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