Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Just Because You're An Employer, Doesn't Make it OK

So I got hired two weeks ago to work at a local, woman owned small business selling wedding and prom dresses.

I show up early to a meeting, as per two text emphatic owner request that I be there ten minutes early. She shows up, sits me down and tells me Disney, one of the other girls that works there, came to her crying yesterday (monday, feb. 28) about how she hadn't been considered for my job.

She asks if I've been still job hunting, at which point I tell her, not since I got hired here and I'm creeped out and curious as to why she's asking. She then tells me that Disney will be her new "go-to" girl, that I will be reverted to minimum wage, and that the other part time girl, Sadie, and I will be in competition to see who stays on past May. She says she just wants to be (and here's the real ironic part) "fair" to her girls. (which clearly doesn't mean me, she means her existing girls) To summarize, I'd been hired as her full time girl, at $9 dollars an hour plus commission and that I could expect a quick raise to $10 dollars an hour because I was clearly qualified. This backslide to part time, seasonal work was a justifiably stunningly unexpected way to start my work day.

She then continues to tell me that she'd be happy to cut me a check for a week's pay, instead, and send me on my way. Her mother, who started the business and stays as half owner, interjected gently to give me the option to think it over.

Meanwhile, I'm utterly floored. Can you give away someone's job to someone else, just because they came to you crying about it? I'm trying to keep my shit together and appear somewhat professional instead of sitting on the opposite side of that desk and crying like the pathetic, out of work freak I feel like. You guys, I needed that job. I quit my other part time job with the expectation of full time work. I am furious and humiliated and terrified right now.

As this is happening, all the other employees start filing in for the meeting, including Disney, and I'm too embarrassed to be all, "I'm sorry, why do you think this is ok? Cuz you rightfully hired me, not her. I earned that job." Instead I tamp it down and try to put on a normal face.

So I worked through the day. They had me work with Disney, who had been nothing but passive aggressive with me these few weeks, and I had just thought it was because I was the new girl. I went home.

And then I wrote an email to the owner, explaining how it's not "fair" to me to demote me. At no point during the posting of the job, the interviews, the three hour long shifts she had her candidates work as a try out, and then finally hiring me and in the last two weeks of training me had Disney mentioned wanting to be considered for that job. I mentioned that it was telling that they hadn't considered her or offered it to her in the first place. (The really hilarious part to me is how they all, including the owner herself, have mentioned how "blond" Disney is. How slow she is to pick things up, how she asks the same questions she should know the answer to over and over, how little common sense she has.)

The owner replied back, saying that people, even managers, make mistakes. She didn't specify if her mistake was not hiring Disney in the first place, or the personal and professional wrong she did to me. She mentioned that she'd send my time card to her accountant and pay me for those days as well as an additional weeks pay, and they'd mail it. I was too furious to draft anything but a scathing reply, which I saved, trying to be the classy one in the exchange.

To add another wrinkle, there's a tax bonus that I qualified her for with a "back to work youth" program. She made sure to ask my age and employment status during the interview, their two credentials. She didn't call, or even ask for references, until days after hiring me. Just after hiring me, I got two quick, successive phone calls from workforce services telling me about it, (my first time hearing how it wasn't a benefit to me, but she was getting a two thousand dollar kickback from me) and another couple from her mentioning how I needed to get back to them immediately and take care of that as soon as possible. They told me there was a month from hire date to complete it. I didn't even make it that long, making me feel like I was profiled to fit in with that criterion so she'd get the benefit, and then dismissed as soon as she was sure of receiving it.

So that was yesterday. I was so angrily adrenaline filled I couldn't sleep, and awoke with an acid stomach two hours before my alarm. Later, I will call back workforce services to see if they require you to be hired full time for her to qualify for the tax benefit, and file a complaint about the way I was fired and also the consideration for fraud. I feel helpless, like I can't do anything except roll over and accept the shitty way this played out for me. I don't know what to do.


  1. LAME. I can not believe all of that. You should definitely try to make sure she can't get that tax break. Sorry and good luck :(

  2. Did you call Workforce Services? I hope so - they really do need to be called on this. I'm so sorry, the whole thing sucks.