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(CA) Thought filing grievance would help--rec'd written reprimands instead

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  • (CA) Thought filing grievance would help--rec'd written reprimands instead

    I filed a grievance against a supervisor who had been intimidating and targeting me. In the meeting where I was to discuss my grievance with HR, I was given two severe written reprimands. At our company we have a policy of progressive discipline. A (1) verbal reprimand, (2)followed by a temporary written reprimand (which only stays in one's file/active for 3 months) is to be given before a (3)severe reprimand is issued. Well, steps 1 and 2 were bypassed and I was given two severe reprimands. A co-worker who is governed by the same documentation policy I was written up for violating, was given a verbal reprimand and then a temporary reprimand despite being further behind than I (she never received a severe reprimand). My documentation was at 60% quota while hers was at 20%. Both of us violated the policy, true, but why was I given a reprimand that will remain in my file permanently? Also, if I EVER violate the policy again, I will be terminated. After three months, however, her temporary reprimand will be removed, so should she violate the policy again she will go back to step one of the progressive discipline policy. Luckily, I am friends with the co-worker I am speaking about and she has provided me with all the documentation to compare to my own. When I confronted HR with the information, they (after a few days) "informed" me of a policy that reserves their right to use as they see fit a policy that differs from the progressive discipline policy. The policy that they spoke of IS NOT in my employee handbook (which we are given when we are hired) nor is it in that of any of my co-workers'. It sort of seems like they just made it up. Also, they did not provide me with a copy of the policy, they just quoted a few sentences of it in their response to me. WHAT SHOULD I DO???? I always like to think people aren't discriminating, but my co-worker is the same race as those who wrote me up....I am of a different race.....that is the only difference between myself and my co-worker.
    As far as the second written reprimand, both of my immediate supervisors have stated to HR (and to the supervisor of the person whom I filed the grievance against) that I was repeatedly targeted by the person whom I filed the grievance against and acknowledged that they had informed the director of the problem, yet no steps were taken to prevent the actions of the supervisor who was targeting me. In this reprimand, I was written up for "unprofessional conduct" because during a meeting I told the supervisor who was intimidating me that I would not continue to be harrased by her. The reprimand states that I do not have a right to leave a meeting when I do not understand its purpose, and that my "anger" is a problem. There were 7 people in the meeting, including the supervisor I filed a grievance against and myself. 5 people in the room have submitted written and/or verbal accounts to HR stating that I was not angry and that my tone matched that of the supervisor who was power-tripping. They also stated that they felt I was being intimidated and that I had a right to stand up for myself. Assertiveness seems to be valued in the company, except when it is a certain race of people being assertive----then we are called "angry," "unprofessional" and "confrontational." Of course those of us of this race recognize it, but people of different races have noticed as well.
    Is there anything I can do about these reprimands and/or the overall way I have been treated at this company??
    Thank you for any advice you have.

  • #2
    Not every policy must be in an employee handbook. It is not unusual for employers to have policies where they can bypass, at their discretion, the standard progressive disciplinary plan if they feel the situation requires it. Or, they don't even have to have a written policy to do so.

    Now, if you have evidence that you were singled out for such treatment SOLELY because of your race, you can contact the EEOC or your state Human Rights Commission. However, you have to have more than just a "feeling" and the fact that you and the other individual are of different races, in and of itself, does not a case make.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


    • #3
      grievance procedure?

      is this a Union setting or a non-union setting but one in which the Employer has created a more typical union-type grievance procedure. I think its the latter, and if so, you've probably got nothing unless the race thing is genuine. Could be they just didn't like your grievance, challengin authority and all, and wanted to send a message.

      if it was union setting, there are several avenues, such as grieving the new discpline, including a claim of retaliation, and various nlrb charges 8a1,3and5. If its non-Union, you might be able to squeek an 8a1 out of it, but only if you acted in concert with at least another employee in filing the grievance of handling the grievance process, somehow. but this is unlikely, and you'd have to get the other employee involved, something they might not want to do.

      curt j.


      • #4
        Has this coworker also had difficulties with the supervisor? Have you each been there roughly the same amount of time, hold the same position and committed this same infraction with the same frequency? You mention that others of the same race as yourself are seen as angry and unprofessional for being assertive. Do you have actual examples of this, particularly cases where those of other races were also involved but only the employee the same race as yourself was written up? If there is a pattern of disparate treatment it does lend more credence to your claim that you were treated differently on account of your race.
        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.


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