Mediation on 2-13-06 with EEOC disability discrimination

    • Anonymous
      February 8, 2007 at 8:37 pm

      Hi all

      It has been a while since I have been here, I have been fighting to keep my job since April and finally filed with EEOC on August 18th when I was not being given an accommodation ( a chair to sit when necessary)at my current job. I am in sales with a large high end department store. When I first had my relapse ( after 12 years) I was in the fragrance department, I so wanted to continue to work but I was told to quit and that when I was well I could reapply and they would hire me back. I refused, I said I needed to work and that since I was in the cosmetics department that there were plenty of chairs and I would only sit if absolutly necessary. I explained that I was in pain and I felt if given the chance I could continue to work. Long story short the cosmetic manager got quite ugly and I was told many terible things, other employees heard and told me not to give up. The manager told me if I couldn’t do the job I was hired for, including stock that I needed to quit. The other people in my department told me not to worry they would help. I cried almost every time I worked because by this point the entire department knew what was happening and they felt sorry for me and my manager continued not to let me sit and I progressed quickly.

      By the end of April I began to stutter, my doctor said it had nothing to do with the CIDP, it was stress related. I was offered a leave of absence without pay and told that my position would be held till June 5th, my return date. I had told them over and over that I did not want to take a leave of absence or quit because I wanted to keep my position, this is why they offered to hold it till I came back. I had no choice but to accept since stuttering had made it difficult to talk and you have to talk to sell.

      When my return date came I had a doctor’s note to return with restrictions for me to be allowed to sit when necessary. The HR department sent a work capacities form to be filled out on the on 6-12-06, I continued to try to return to work but I was continuly asked if I was still using a cane. I said I was but I had yet to fall down this time around with the CIDP. On July 10th my doctor faxed over the forms filled out and about a week later they called to let me know that my position had been eliminated! The part timer that had taken over my position was put in my place as a full timer. I was never full timer. Even though I was asked to work in the operators room full time my fragrance position was not offered.

      Durring the first week in August I was called by the store manager and asked to come by to discuss other positions that were avaliable. When I came in she told me that there were not any positions available in cosmetics( I heard that there were several) and that there were positons in accesories, hosery, and 2 clothing departments. When the HR manager came in he said that the accesories position was not availabe, since I worked next to hosery when I was in fragrance I knew that that department was very slow and I would not make the money I was makeing before. I said I would try to do one of the clothing departments but I may be too difficult since moving clothes around and all would be hard on me physically. But what choice did I have? By the end of the month I told them that after a shift that the next days I could not get out of bed and I could not go down the stairs and my 4 year old was having to find what she could for breakfast some days since I couldnt make it down the stairs. I asked them to let me know when there was another position avaliable that would better suit me. My sales were outstanding and I had customers write letters on how nice and helpfull I was. This store is all about customer service and yet they would not help me. I had top sales and even though I only worked nights and very few hours my sales per hour were almost as high as the full timers in my department. Oh I skiped what happened when I started in the department. The first day I realized there was not a chair in my department, there were chairs at the counters where the regesters were in the two departments on either side of me but not in mine. When I told HR about needing a chair still he told me I could sit in the back when I needed to but not out on the floor. I told him it would interfere with my sale if I was off the floor he said I could discuss it with the store manager when she returned from vacation in about a week. Until she returned I sat in the back and on a couch after closing hrs in my department and in the dressing room. When I did address it with her she said I could use a chair from one of the departments on either side of me. I explained that it would be difficult, may be they could just put chairs in my department too. She said I could pull a chair from one of the other departments. I tried this but of course it was difficult to pull a chair with a cain in one hand and dragging the chair with the other. I could only pull the stool from one of the departments and high chairs with the backs were metal and too heavy for my weak arms to pull. Of course I explained this latter on I also told her that at time I was too weak to pull the chair and I had actually sat on the floor in the bay behind the register when I could not handle the pain. Her only response was that if I could not move it myself I could ask the manager in charge ( I fould it too embarasing and hard not to cry explaining to each new manager why I needed them to move a chair from another department) eventually I gave up and I filed with EEOC. Of course after that it did not get any better, I was never told of another department position becomming available until I called and asked to be taken off the schedule. I had gone to HR several times explaining my health getting worse but until I told them to take me off the schedule nothing was done. After being taken off the schedule it was about 2 weeks before I was offered a position in Fine Jewlery, again I said I would still need a chair in that department the manager from that department said fine, but HR said I would need another form filled out in order to get the accommodation this was going to be the fifth form filled out by my doctor. This was the first time I was given a form for an accomodation request.

      While in this department I was given less hrs than the hours I was given in the clothing department. I asked for more and was told it was not in the budget. durring December everones hrs increased and my went from 2-3 days to as little as 1 day a week. I had not been scheduled for events and the one I was scheduled for I was only scheduled for 2 hrs. I made a note for the other girls and asked if they needed a day off to please call me and I would love to work for them to get additional hrs. So, the second week of December I get called into the office with the store manager and the HR manager asking why I was wanting more hrs. I explained how I had asked my manager and was told that there were not any hrs left in the budget, and was told by the other girls that there had never been 5 people in that department and that was why there were not any hrs. The store manager and HR said that FJ department did not have a budget and I could have more hrs but we needed to call my manager to talk about her not giving me hours when asked. She tried to say that she was giving me 3-4 days and that I had never asked, I had to tell her that I had documentation of the date I asked and a copy of each schedule proving how I was not getting hours, even durring the busiest month of the year! OF course after I prove everything and my manager is looking like she would like to cry, The schedule is revised and my schedule is almost doubled in hours. The store manager and HR wanted to know why I had not come to them with the situation, I explained that we all knew that I had filed with EEOC and that they were not helpful with the other situations and I was tired of being turned down and getting upset so I was letting my EEOC investigatior know my concerns and she was letting their corp office know and in turn they were letting them know. My department became even more tense, The hours that I was given ( the ones that were given to me because there was no budget) were taken away from the other girls and now they were upset.

      Now the girl that had the most of her hours taken gave notice and so did my manager. Before she left she gave me an evaluation, she gave inacurate information bringing my overall evalution low. even though I was #1 in sales per hour and items sold per hour and was 3 out of 4 in over all $ sold. I had an overall score of 3out of 4 in the department. When I addressed this with the store manager and HR, the store manager said that the scoring was wrong but since my manager had left there was nothing she could do.

      Oh the week before Christmas EEOC called and said that the store had aggreed to a mediation. Well, first a few weeks before they asked why I could’nt drop the charge since they gave me a chair (mid november) I refused to drop the charge. When you go to mediation with EEOC, EEOC in the mediator and of course the store is going to have great attorneys, so I had to get one also. MOney I don’t have.

      Durring this whole time my CIDP has gone back and forth. I went without IVIG for about 2 1/2 months and just got one this past monday and tuesday. I’m on 20mg of pred and my doctor appt is the day after my mediation.

      I am on the cidpusa website as story #20 and some of my health question have been here in the past. Any advice or comments encouraging words I am so consumed with all this and I just want to finaly concentrate on me and my family and my health, but I cant let them do this to me or it will just continue.

      ๐Ÿ™‚ Mechelle

    • Anonymous
      February 9, 2007 at 9:26 am

      Mechelle, You need to destress as soon as possible. The stress from your job is not helping your cidp, it is hurting you and could do alot more damage if you don’t release it soon. I feel sooo bad for you and wish I could be there to slam a few heads together for you. it is illegal to treat a disabled person like that and they are just trying to get you out of their hair. Usually I would say don’t give up, but due to all the stress this is creating for you, I would just get out and save your energy for you and your family. it isn’t worth your life to keep putting yourself through that. there is more to life then a job with a company that treats people like that. If that had happened here in my area there are ways to deal with it legally and bring it to the attention of the public through the media, which in turn would solve the problem immediately. When the public hears your story and the way that company treats its employees with a disabling health issue like cidp, you would be surprised how fast they change their attitude and ways they treat their employees.
      In my opinion, you need to pull up roots and get out of there now! to save your life and help your family get back to normal and get back there mom!
      I am praying for you and sending BIG HUGS your way. Please try to take care of yourself, your family needs you more then you need that job. There are ways to make it without all that stress. God Bless!

    • Anonymous
      February 9, 2007 at 10:33 am


      It really is distressing to read your story. I wish there was some advice I could give, unfortunately I have never been in your situation:( . Please know that I am thinking about you and will be praying about your situation. Keep us updated please.

    • Anonymous
      February 9, 2007 at 3:15 pm


      I am sorry to hear all the troubles that you have been having. I don’t see how they can get away with that crap. Good luck with mediation and get a good Social Security/Disability lawyer if you need to. The one I got was well worth the money. Take care.


      PS-Email me jerimyschilz at and I can point you in the direction of a few good sites on this.

    • Anonymous
      February 9, 2007 at 4:18 pm

      Mechelle I am sorry you are going through so much keep up the fight.
      If some of your customers are repeated customers maybe when they come in to buy something and they realized that you are not there they can ask when your next shift is and if the other worker asked why they can say I want Mechelle to serve me nobody else.
      Then when the Manager hears about the fact they may lose a sale because your not there and the fact the other workers won’t be getting the sales instead they might just have to change there tune.

      Keep on fighting if you can.
      Good Luck


    • Anonymous
      February 12, 2007 at 11:23 pm

      Hi all

      Sorry it took time to check the site I worked the last three days as I was scheduled. I had IVIG last Mon and Tue so needless to say when I got home and made it up the stairs I was not about to go down again. I am also sleeping evey minute I’m not with the girls. I will try to write again tomorrow after the mediation.

      Tomorrow is the day at 9:30 am. All your responses make me smile knowing that there are people that know what I am feeling physicaly and mentaly. This is just one more thing, but I figure I have gone this far I can’t stop now. I ask that God guides me and keeps me strong so they don’t see me cry. I have so much documentation, e-mail’s & letters, it has given me something to fignt for rather than fight against. The CIDP I can’t change but I don’t want them to get away with how they have been.

      You would think that with great letters from customers and yes people have even written that they will always shop there with me and not go their usual places. I got the first two letters and thank you’s from the store manager. The last three I have only heard about,from the customer’s and once from the store manager, but no copies for proof. It is a very large company with piano playing all the time and great customer service, I loved the way they treated their customers, that is why I took the position. Being a new store here in San Antonio it felt like a good decision. Anyway enough of that. I pray that things go well and I will no longer have to work there and they pay me my backpay. I just am so tired of this but I have prayed that I am strong not to alow them to bully me into taking less. I have to stick to my beliefs. I am not asking for anymore that what is owed to me and a couple of years of future pay, I would have loved to work for them but now there is no future and I do not want to continue to work for a company like theirs. If the owner did nothing when I wrote him a letter explaining how I just wanted to sit, and I was in cosmetics. I told the store manager not to long ago “You know as well as I do that I have gone to the EEOC, we smile and pretend but it got so way out of hand, I just wanted to work, a chair, I don’t understand what was so hard.” She said nothing.

      I figure I will need future pay because who will hire me now, cane and all. I had a job I should have been able to keep it.

      SO…. Thank you all for your prayers and listening to me vent, it is good to say things to people who know, I really am sick and yet I’m still me.

      ๐Ÿ˜‰ Mechelle

    • Anonymous
      February 12, 2007 at 11:58 pm

      I wish you the best in your battle, but I am glad to hear that you will not be going back to work there. When I came down with CIDP in March of 2002 (a very sudden & severe case), I was teaching full-time in an Adult Ed classroom. Initially, I was told I was not eligible for short-term disabilty because I had elected to drop down to 3 days a week the previous summer (to save them money, as summers were our slow time), & my boss had forgot to change my status back to full-time the previous September.

      I was too sick to fight, & my boss said something like, I guess we all learn from our mistakes the hard way. But fortunately the HR person went to bat for me & I did receive 6 months of S&A, which enabled my husband to take 3 months of FMLA to take care of me, as well as finding better hospitals & neuros to care for me. I did have to resign my job after 7 months, my husband holding the pen in my hand to help me make an X.

      Almost 5 years later I realize that I still cannot work at all. I need about 9-10 hours of sleep a night, plus a two hour nap each day. My voice is still weak, my handwriting is fine, but only lasts an hour or so, & I walk with braces & a cane. People don’t understand why I don’t at least try to sub, that’s just it, they don’t see the fatigue. I am just lucky that I could get SSD & my husband just retired, so money is not an issue for us. Losing one’s job is like losing who we are, it is still one of the hardest things I had to deal with.

    • Anonymous
      February 13, 2007 at 8:36 am

      Thank you Pam for sharing your story. I so understand your fatigue, sometimes it takes everything just to keep your eyes open. I take a nap as often as possible. My house is not as put together a it use to be but I am learning to deal, so when the girls are both at school (Mon-Wed Fri) you can be sure I will try to fit that nap in. On bad days I use the chair at work a lot, since I close most shifts 5 till about 9:30 I am usualy the only one working in my department, Provigal helps on weekends. When I come home my husband takes over everything and I can rest. On good days I try to make it up to him. You sound as blessed as me to have a wonderful supportive husband that loves you no matter what!

      Sometimes I think if they had just been nice or just not so cold I may have left on my own, goodness, I just don’t understand people. Anyway I must go to get ready it’s 7:30 and I have to be at 9:15.

      Thank you again all for just being here.

      ๐Ÿ™‚ Mechelle