This post has been altered from it’s original state due to a threatening letter received from my employer’s law firm and my lack of financial ability to defend my rights as a citizen.
After 2 1/2 months of broken promises, endless delays & disrespectful treatment, I was at the end of my ability to financial handle the working situation I was in. As a last olive branch, I sent an email to my employer explaining my situation and the timeline of actions taken by my employer which I considered unfair at best. I asked what his opinion was of these events and about the possibility of things going differently in the future. I thought being someone who has a supposedly ‘socially conscious’ business, he would see the errors in his inability to think ahead and/or his complete disregard for the well-being of other people.
I have time & date stamped texts, emails & hard copy evidence of every claim made. However, my employer responded without remorse, denied everything I have proof of and made it clear that this treatment would continue at his business indefinitely. I considered this to be something to warn other potential job-seekers to avoid, so I decided to post my part of the exchange on this website.
For posting these documentable facts concerning his labor practices, I was fired & issued a cease & desist letter from my employer’s lawyer. I have researched this matter and discussed it with experts since then and I know I have the law on my side. Oregon labor laws, internet libel laws, legal precedent & the mountain of proof I have showing that these are not false claims gives me the confidence to say that there is no chance I would lose in court…Here’s the problem: In part because of the labor practices of my employer, my financial situation is such that I could not afford to defend myself if a lawsuit was brought against me. So, I’m in the position of having to give up my freedom of speech and ability to act in protest against blatant injustice because he has kept the wages he promised me and is now using them against me to bully me like a heartless corporation, while masquerading as a socially conscious, local, vegan food distributor in SE Portland.
[altered post follows]:
This is an e-mail I sent to my employer, _____ ________ at _______ _______:
“I would like to give a timeline of my experiences at _______ _______ and hear what _______ _______’s take is on these.
I came, as a friend, looking for work. At the time, I explained that the reason was that my employer had cut my shifts down to 18hours/week right as I had gotten back from a trip & I was completely broke. I explained that I couldn’t live on an income this small and that I was in a desperate situation. I was hired to work part-time at _______ _______, which was fine because I could continue to work at my other job and attain something close to full-time hours collectively. After working for _______ _______ for 2 days, I was offered full-time hours. I assume this was based on the solid performance of my duties at _______ _______. These full-time hours were conditional, however. I was told it was necessary that I be available to start full-time on April 12th. Otherwise, _______ _______ would have to hire someone else & I would lose my chance at full-time employment with _______ _______. This meant that I had to give my 2 weeks notice on my other job that day. I asked again if I would be getting full-time hours. The answer was yes. I asked if this meant 40hours/week. The answer was yes. I immediately called and quit a perfectly good job where I was treated well.
I received an e-mail from _______ _______, stating the following,
“So this is a big deal for me as I am putting a lot of faith into (sic) you…Your initial schedule will look like this:
Monday – 8:30 – 12:30 (or when complete)
Tuesday – 7:30 ’til finish (cookie route)
Wednesday – 8:30 – 12:30 (or when complete)
Thursday – 8:30 – 12:30 (or when complete)
Friday – 5:00am – ’til finish (Seattle Route)
See you on Monday at 8:30am.
This adds up to ~37hours/week. As of June 8th, I have yet to work this schedule and I have never received as many as 37 hours in a week.
Two days after that e-mail, I received another from _______ _______ stating, “I won’t be able to be in next week” and wouldn’t be able to fully train me before leaving. It went on to say that _______ _______ would not be giving me full-time hours right away, as promised, but that _______ _______ “would like to hold off until early May”. Then, I was offered 18hours/week. This was the exact amount of hours/week on which I had informed _______ _______ that I could not live. Even if this had been the only situation, this one single move cost me over $700. Later, while being trained on a delivery to the bank, the teller asked how much the writer of that e-mail was looking forward to their vacation in Hawaii. I guess I’m supposed to presume that the _______ _______ owner/trainer who promised me full-time hours starting on April 12th did not know that they were going to Hawaii, but that their bank teller did. Later on that day, I was told that I needed to work on my attitude.
With four months advance notice, I asked for one Friday off at the end of August to go to a wedding in rural Canada. Later, _______ _______ used this against me as an excuse to deny me the Friday Seattle shifts, which I have still never done. These were the shifts that were promised to me in March and which were used to convince me to quit my other job, where I was treated well.
By this point Javier, a driver who worked 50hours/week, has quit. I ask about the possibility of getting more hours in an e-mail. The response the next day from _______ _______ is, “I am training several drivers over the next 2 weeks & will make a decision…”. To me, this means I would have full-time hours by May 24th. It also seems to me, from my past experience with other employers, that the common practice would be to give the full-time hours to the next person in line (by seniority & past promises) and to train the new people on the part-time shifts.
I receive a new schedule and work that week. This is the first week I’ve worked at _______ _______ that I’ve been given more than 30 hours. This is the last time I have worked this schedule and, as of June 9th, the only week I’ve ever been given more than 30 hours.
I’m scheduled for 8:30am the next day. However, at the end of my shift, I’m told to come in the next day at 7:00am instead. The next morning, I receive a text from _______ _______ at 5:51am. The text says, “Please come in at 8:30 this morning instead”. Since I had changed my plans for that morning (and the night before) to come in at 7:00am, my alarm has already gone off at 5:30am and I’m already halfway done getting ready for my shift. This is all to come in at the time I was already scheduled to arrive in the first place.
_______ _______ sends me an e-mail that reads, ”I am still in the process of training, and as such, I will be training someone else this coming Tuesday and Thursday. So I will not need you to come in on those days this week…I still have not decided on all the routes, but hope to make a decision by the end of June.” At this point, my hours have been hovering around 24hours/week. This e-mail cut that to 15hours/week. This is less than what I couldn’t live on at my old job and it’s 25hours/week less than what _______ _______ promised on March 30th. I sent _______ _______ this reply, “This is a very unreliable source of income.” The response from _______ _______ was, “We’ve had so many unexpected changes during the last 2 months.” The changes I saw were 4 people quitting & I’m still not getting the full-time hours I was promised and quit a good job for.
I get woken up by a text from _______ _______ at 5:42am. The text says to come in at 9:30am, instead of the scheduled 8:30am. First, 5:42am is too early to send a text to an employee that is not on the clock for _______ _______ until 8:30am. Second, this is way too short of a notice to change someone’s shift. I wonder what would happen if I called _______ _______ 2 1/2 hours before my shift started to say I would be an hour late. Third, this is cutting another hour off a week where _______ _______ had already cut 2 of my 5 days to give them to a trainee. This is clearly a disrespectful act.
I enjoy doing the work involved at _______ _______ and I’m very good at what I do. I’ve been a professional driver for 11+ years and I’ve received compliments on the quality of my work from _______ _______’s customers & _______ _______’s co-owner, Marlena. The problem is that I’m not being allowed to actually do the work on a consistent basis. The current set-up is far too unreliable to be sustainable. I literally can’t afford to continue like this, so we need to figure something out. Because of _______ _______’s endless delays and broken promises on a full-time schedule, I’ve had to resort to getting food stamps & post-dating my rent checks so they don’t bounce. This has all cost me thousands of dollars and now I’m forced to move from my home and face all of those additional costs. As _______ _______ made sure to point out in the March 30th e-mail, I have also put lots of “faith” in _______ _______ and this is how I’ve been treated. I’ve been more than patient and I’ve trusted that being a friend, things would all be worked out long ago. They haven’t been. _______ _______ has had 2 1/2 months to come up with the schedule I was promised and convinced to quit my other job for. Now, I’m being asked for another 3 weeks. I no longer have any reason to believe that this will actually happen at the end of June. Even if it did, it would be too late for me. I need reliable, full-time income now. I’ve run out of time. I’m more broke than I’ve ever been & I need a decision by the end of the day tomorrow. Let me know what you think.
Regards, Sam Davis”
_______ _______’s owner responded with a denial of any wrongdoing and a petty list of a few ‘new employee mistakes’. This was intended to be a rebuttal to my timeline & somehow in his mind equated with stealing thousands of dollars from me and putting me on the brink of homelessness. I was also presented with an additional waiting period of one more week and an additional, slap-in-the-face offer of 15 hours per week.
I then posted the original version of my e-mail on this website and received this e-mail from _______ _______ the next day, “I find it rather unprofessional of you to post our correspondence on a blog…We no longer require your services here.” Obviously, I had not posted ‘our correspondence’, only my portion of it, because to publish the words of someone else without their permission could be actually illegal. The next day, I received a cease and desist letter from _______ _______’s lawyer threatening a lawsuit. Since I have been made more broke than I have ever been by the endless disrespect that _______ _______ puts its employees through, I have no money to defend my own freedom of speech or to continue what I consider to be a community service by exposing these practices to help other job-seekers avoid them.
Congratulations, _______ _______! You’re a bully with money…which you stole from your employees and which you then use to intimidate people into giving up their rights as citizens…but you’re vegan, so I guess that trumps everything, right?
Unfortunately, these kinds of labor practices are on the rise as resources & jobs are being outnumbered by scarcity & outsourcing. A system based on capital is unsustainable. As human beings, we need to work together now more than ever. This is necessary to break the chains of our dependance on money and those that hoard it for themselves. Working together is also necessary for our souls to avoid the inherent greed that corrupts money & for our survival, for as Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki) once said:
“…the most affluent of countries, operates on a depletion economy which leaves destruction in its wake. Your people are driven by a terrible sense of deficiency. When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.”
We need to act in ways that make money and this kind of corruption obsolete. Who needs money if we pool our knowledge & labor to grow our own food and build our own homes? Who will benefit from our desperation when we don’t have any?
Stay human, everybody. I love you guys.
‘The Money Masters’:
I’ve posted this endlessly useful & information-packed documentary before, but why not again?
P.S.: This would be an ideal time to use the yellow ‘donate’ on the sidebar on the right of the homepage…just sayin’…