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Retaliation? Discrimination? I just want it to stop California

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  • Retaliation? Discrimination? I just want it to stop California

    I work for a large hotel with approximately 700 employees. On property we have the bar, where I work, and another restaurant which has a service bar. I was hired full time specifically for the bar, and NOT for the restaurant's service bar. That job was open too, but I told them I was not interested when I was hired. My hiring papers said The Bar. The bar job pays minimum wage, while the last person who worked service bar was being paid $17 p/h

    Two months ago I filed a complaint with HR because of harassment issues. A lot of this has to do with being the only woman working at my position there. They handled it, but my managers were more miffed that i cause trouble than at the people who were actually doing the harassment. Prior to this I was an exemplary employee, and even won a service award.

    After I went to HR there were subtle changes, but despite this I have never been written up (probably b/c I'm the only employee who is both on time and accurate).

    Now my managers are trying to make me work in the cafe's service bar. And they want to pay me minimum, when the previous (male) person was paid almost double that. Their excuse was seniority, except I have seniority over another (male) employee and several other people HAD both bar and service bar in their hiring descriptions. Plus the old service bartender still works there - in another dept. They moved him by "closing" the service bar - for a month, and now reopened it.

    I'm not sure what, if anything I can do about it, but advice is welcome.
    Last edited by Oula; 07-05-2008, 10:52 AM.

  • #2
    First, notify your HR about your concerns.

    Go to corporate if local HR doesn't give you the answers you want.

    THEN, involve the EEOC if the answers are still not appropriate. Too many people automatically go to the EEOC before they have explored internal remedies... and it is the first question that the EEOC will ask about.

    Good luck.
    Not everything that makes you mad, sad or uncomfortable is legally actionable.

    I am not now nor ever was an attorney.

    Any statements I make are based purely upon my personal experiences and research which may or may not be accurate in a court of law.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you for the quick reply!

      I have an appointment with HR monday, and since I'm going anyway I figure I may as well bring up several of the issues that are just not on recently:

      - Breaks. I'm now scheduled at 2pm, alone, and therefore cannot take any breaks until after 6:30 when another bartender arrives. When I've brought this up I'm told to "call a manager to cover me", but when I do, they're not available. If I leave the bar unattended I get in trouble. When I talk to the managers I'm told "you're the only one with this issue - and when I explain it's because other people are simply logging in breaks they're not taking, I'm ignored. Now, to make sure I get these breaks they make me take them all at once as one long break instead of two separate rests and a meal. Usually 5 - 6 hours into my shift.

      - The latest new manager has said we must have a (male) barback there at night - apparently to do the heavy lifting (?!) We previously had a shift with only women working - Myself a server, and a female service bartender - and this passed without incident. Other male bartenders work without a barback on a regular basis, so it's only me, the female, that this rule applies to.

      There's so much more of this, but it all boils down to the same idea; that for some reason my being female suddenly makes me less able to do a job three months ago I won the hotel's service award doing

      Comment


      • #4
        For the "breaks" issue only, the following is the CA rest period rules and remedies.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

        Comment


        • #5
          Update

          I went to HR as suggested. I wrote out about 4 pages of examples of my boss questioning my (and another female employees) competency purely based on our sex - ie being strong enough, being mechanically inclined enough (to tap kegs!!! Because apparently keg tapping is hard MAN work) etc.
          I explained to HR that when I've approached the boss to discuss this he retaliates by threatening my job, threatening to revoke approved time off etc. I told her about how he'll tell the male temps that he'll be hiring soon - while staring at me - when we are so overstaffed we have no shifts. He was threatening to revoke my vacation - literally the day before I was to leave - but HR stopped that, which was a relief.

          I also went over the break issue.

          When I came back from vacation I called in for my schedule, and nothing has changed. He's saying he's trying to help me and calls me "Sweetie" - which huh?!?! I call HR and have another appointment with them, but really I find this discouraging. We're a HUGE hotel chain. We all took harrassment training - I don't know if what he's doing is illegal, or if it's "sexual harrassment" - I mean, he doesn't pressure me for sex or anything, he just dismisses me based on gender - but it certainly is against the hotel's policy. But if they're not going to follow their policy, I'm not sure what recourse I have - other than finding a new job.

          I really have no idea what to do. I feel like the new shift shenannigans are designed to push me to quit, but until I find another job I need this one. Anyway, that's my update - Thanks for the advice. I'll keep updating if that's cool.

          Comment


          • #6
            What tangible employment actions have been taken against you because you are female? Wanting to have a male a female on each shift isn't causing any harm though I agree it is silly. If it means you are being switched to less desireable shifts then it is problematic. If you work in a bar, asking if you can tap a keg is a normal question and not indicative of gender bias, even if he might be in the back of his mind wondering if you might not be strong enough to do so. What is he doing that is adversely affecting your job, benefits or opportunities because you are female?

            Have you told him nicely that being called Sweetie bothers you?
            I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

            Comment


            • #7
              I did ask him to call me by my name, and when the nick-name/sweetie/endearments have re-occurred, I have asked again. He continues to "sweetie" me. Oh, and he'll stare at my chest when we have to talk with him, but I don't really even want to open that can of worms with HR. I mean, it's gross, but I don't think it's illegal. It's just another example of the demeaning way he behaves towards us.

              there were a lot of specific examples I went to HR with, but to sum up:

              He did not ask if I could tap a keg, he assumed the female employees could not do it. When I was going to the back to tap one he told me not to, and to find one of the guys to do it for me. I did talk to him about this - he threatened to suspend my TO. I ended up showing several males how to tap a keg because they had no idea how to do so. Likewise, bleeding the compressor, changing the dishwashing chemicals, and changing the CO2.

              He has said the female employees are not strong enough to do several aspects of our job - despite the fact that we have done these parts of the job for years; carry tubs, hauling ice, etc. I think he thinks he's trying to help us / protect us from heavy labor, but we knew what the job was when we took it, and we're perfectly capable of performing all aspects of it.

              As a result of his not believing the female employees capable of performing the heavier aspects of the job, he insists that we be scheduled with a male. In real terms this has meant that the other women working are being shifted into ****tail waitress positions (while none of the men are being offered ****tailing), while I'm (I refused ****tailing. I have worked too hard to be a bartender to be pushed back down into that) either losing shifts or being scheduled in the service bar which has no lifting requirements. These are the worst shifts available.

              There are a ton more of weird little things like this. He says/does something every day, but this is the jist of it. More specifically he makes new rules/policy for the bar based on the idea that women cannot do certain aspects of the work.

              All of these new policies occurred after I went to HR with my original harrassment complaint, all of these policies really seem to only affect me / the female employees (employees with more seniority are exempt, those males with less have had minimal disruption to their schedules), and all of the policies put me in the worst shifts.

              I mean, I get that some people really see bartenders as men and ****tails as women. It's not uncommon to have to prove yourself, and I try working with him and demonstrating that really, even though I'm female I am capable of doing this job. But normally once you show that hey, you know what you're doing and in some cases moreso than the men, you get left alone to just do your job. In this case I cannot seem to get past the preconceptions.
              Last edited by Oula; 07-17-2008, 11:28 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                If you don't report it, they can't fix it. HR does not have a crystal ball and ESP is not a job requirement. If you don't tell them he is calling you sweetie, changed the policies to favor the guys or that he stares at your chest, they don't know, can't fix it, and can't be held responsible for doing nothing about it.

                Asking the guys to tap kegs and lift heavy items might be patronizing but it isn't afffecting that material aspects of your job such as pay or benefits. If you personally are losing shifts because there must be a guy at the bar as well, then that is a problem. Being reassigned legitimately to the service bar is not an adverse action just because you don't like it. If it means you make less money or work an undesireable schedule that is another thing. Assigning duties based on physical ability and who is least likely to be injured performing certain tasks is allowed. I have no idea what your physique is like and certainly not as compared to the rest of your coworkers male and female but if I have a 5'2", 110 lbs. employee and a 6', 200 lbs. employee, guess which one I'm going to ask to lift the 50 lbs. box?
                I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                Comment


                • #9
                  another update

                  I told HR everything, pointed out that he IS taking shifts away and assigning me to less desirable shifts, and told them how every single time I tried to approach the manager and talk he met out some for of retaliation. They told me that they knew him (I guess he and my HR manager worked together at another property) and thought I was jumping the gun - to wait it out and it will get better.

                  They also claimed that the male employee being paid $17 an hour was a fluke, and that it was not the pay rate for that position. I went back and asked the male employee what the situation had been and he contradicted whet HR told me. He said he was transfered there, and he only agreed to work it if they paid him the banquet server rate. Prior to this he was making much less hourly. It was clear that his pay increase was part of his new job at the service bar.

                  Since talking to HR, my situation has only gotten worse. The very next day the manager started building a case to prove I was milking the clock and/or committing time clock fraud. Not that his "report" showed any of this - or that I was following the procedure any differently from every single employee I work with - but anyway, he issued a "final warning" for something I don't think I did. Having never received *any* warnings before - our company has a policy of verbal, written, THEN final, so I was a bit shaken by this.

                  The "investigation" was leaked to my coworkers who have been openly taunting me, or being hostile and abusive, because they heard (from where, who knows - this was supposed to be confidential, but nothing ever is here) I went to HR and thought I was going there to report them. In fighting is a huge problem at this property, and recent schedule changes have only made it worse. Since then the manager has also issued somewhere around 20 memos with new rules - not that I mind new rules, except it is hard to remember them all, especially when they are departures from the old system.

                  I'm basically expecting to be fired every time I go in, and waiting to see what they'll use to justify it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Then NOW is the time to take all of the documented incidents to the EEOC.
                    Not everything that makes you mad, sad or uncomfortable is legally actionable.

                    I am not now nor ever was an attorney.

                    Any statements I make are based purely upon my personal experiences and research which may or may not be accurate in a court of law.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Straight to EEOC? I was going to try corporate HR first, but I'll take your advice. Thank you.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Oula View Post
                        Straight to EEOC? I was going to try corporate HR first, but I'll take your advice. Thank you.
                        Wait...

                        When you said you took it to HR, I assumed you meant corporate.

                        No... take it to corporate HR first.
                        Not everything that makes you mad, sad or uncomfortable is legally actionable.

                        I am not now nor ever was an attorney.

                        Any statements I make are based purely upon my personal experiences and research which may or may not be accurate in a court of law.

                        Comment

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