Friday, February 22, 2013

No Longer Employed - Discrimination, Defamation

I was terminated by my employer, Lowe's, last month. They said I was hurting myself in front of customers and being a danger to others. This was not true. I was scared, did not have a car, and was unable to go to a doctor. Two weeks later I was terminated for hurting myself. I was never asked to write a statement or fill out an incident report, which I always have been told I have to when something happens, even on the most minor things.

My employer said that I did it intentionally, only this time I did not. They kept talking and drilling into my head that I did, but that was not the case. There are plenty of inaccuracies, and the department manager even will say he did not see what was going on, was helping another customer, and has bad eyesight, which is girlfriend will attest to as well. He had to write a statement over it, and he was told yes he had to. This department manager, while he had been a friend, not more than 10 minutes before was talking to another department manager (I do have names) calling me a rat and other hurtful things.

I had went to ask him to please stop and ask why he was doing that at work. Keep in mind earlier that day my head was sore where I had bumped my head on my bathroom counter getting my hair straightener. This manager supposedly was a friend, but he lied on the statement about what happened, a statement I never was given the chance to write.

I had a combination lock from my locker in my hand, I had it in my apron and the weight was dragging it down so I was carrying it. Well he wouldn't talk to me and was ignoring me so I started to cry. I didn't want him to see or anyone else so I tried to cover my face and in the rush, the lock hit my forehead, right where it was knocked earlier by the shelf at home earlier. I started to feel dizzy and sick from that and crying, and grasping for a nearby shelf I lost my balance and my head slammed right into it, busting it open. There was blood all over. The department manager said I need to go back to my department, but then he saw the blood on my head and called for the manager.

After I cut myself after a write up in November, I had been receiving counseling and getting help, which they say I did not. I have documentation, as well as they do that I had been getting help, through services provided by my employer. While I had two incidents on my record, overall I had good attendance, good reviews, and a promotion in the almost three years I was there. My store manager always spoke highly of my customer service skills to management and other employees.

I have reason to believe it is in part due to my transition from male to female at work (transgender) and my mental instabilities from last year due to severe anxiety and depression. It seems that they are basing the recent incident on a past incident and I was termed by them automatically assuming I did it to myself on purpose. I feel so insulted and degraded. I worked the two weeks after the accident with no problems. 

During my termination, not much was said, but I did ask the store manager why I was not able to write a statement. He said it was because the department manager said I did. That raised a flag to me because this department manager has always said he would treat me as one of the guys, and that signals he doesn't approve of my transition so may have fabricated some aspects of the story as well.

The department manager, my former friend, said I was using a knife to hurt myself. Now you can imagine how damaging that would be. He certainly is not acting like my friend anymore, so I am assuming he is not. He immediately deleted me off of Facebook, and won't let his girlfriend have anything to do with me. His words spread throughout the store, causing irreparable damage to my friends and working relationships. I lost one of my close friends Trista I think because of it. Suddenly she will not talk to me or have anything to do with me.

I had also attempted to take a leave of absence over what happened in November, but I was confused by it. My HR refused to provide any meaningful help and kept referring me to the company intranet. I tried on my own several times but I just could not get it.

So I was called into the office and was told I was being separated for what happened. You know what though? I took it well. No. I took it awesome. I sat there, hardly said a word. Absorbed what little they said, called my friend to pick me up, and before I even left I had stopped crying. Made my quiet and surprisingly non escorted exit. It was bizarre, I never  had to sign anything. I asked why I never got to write a statement, and they claimed again I refused. Uh no, every time I asked I was told it was not needed. I was not going to argue though, they said one thing I knew another.

I have also been trying to get my head looked at. The HR will not respond to my requests for assistance. I have called and left emails without any response. If I go to the doctor, every time I tell them what happened, they will not see me without the Lowe's information on what happened. Since this happened I have had severe headaches on my forehead, and I have developed a fairly large scar. My beautiful forehead is ruined and no one seems to care.

Anyway, I have been having a few problems the last few weeks since the injury. It throbs and my head aches, which at first I attributed to just everyday things but it seems to emanate from the spot the shelf made contact. It gets so bad sometimes I feel nauseated and have to lie down. The wound has not healed very well either, despite my best efforts with antibiotic creams (such as generic Neosporin).

I went to,

First Med Urgent Clinic

805 W Covell Rd #200 Edmond, OK 73003
(405) 844-1633

They asked me what happened and where. I told them exactly as I told you. Then the clinic told me they could not see me unless I had the employer insurance information, not my personal insurance, which I tried to use, even asked "why can't I just use the last sliver of my own insurance?"

They said because I stated it was a workplace injury that I needed this information from Lowe's to be treated. They said something about comp and that Lowe's has it's own provider that is to be used. Since I had told them at happened at work they said they said they could not take my personal insurance or just take me as a general admin. I did not know what to say so I left.

I attempted to contact the assistant store manager who took the initial injury report at the store, after I was made aware of this. He stated he was not aware of aware of anything I had to give them. I have since tried to get a hold of my HR and even sent her an email but no response.

On the brightside, people thought I would go and hurt myself, I instead went and applied for over 70 positions with over 15 companies. I received 5 interviews so far.  Started two jobs the past two weeks. Even though it is a cut, I have a car now.

Yes I am devasted my surgery won't be this year. Yet here I am blogging along. So whatever. I am not the crazy, dumb, tranny they thought I was. I am a highly intellectual transwoman with the strength of a thousand and heart the size of planets (well mass wise, not size wise).

Never thought this would happen. Lowe's was supposed to be the one. Needless to say I have contacted the ACLU, EEOC, and the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) and I encourage anyone else in a similar situation to do the same.

Also, if you are a current employee, do not take anything to Janet Gimlin. She flipped everything I said to her back on me.What else are you going to say when you fall and hit a shelf? Most people say "I hit my head on the shelf." When I said it that way she made it sound like I was confessing. Then she accused me of changing my story. No. I had to change my wording because she was using it against me, and not paying attention to what was really going on, nor taking to heart what I was saying.

This site is published as a public service to warn consumers of the business practices of Lowe's Home Improvement Centers.  This site is in no way affiliated, connected with, or sponsored by Lowe's or any of its subsidiaries. All content and information on this site is my opinion or the opinion of those referenced. This site is for educational purposes. 

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