Category: Bigotry

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Wish They Could Self-Store Away Their Misogyny

| NY, USA | Bigotry

(I am one of three employees in the office that I work in. We are a small, locally owned company and all of the employees are either family or friends of one of the two owners. I’m a young woman in my early twenties and I’ve been there for almost six years. I handle everything having to do with money, the Internet, or computers in general, except the basic stuff I taught the other employees. Without fail I get a call like this at least once a month. The phone rings.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Self Storage]. This is [My Name] speaking. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Uh… is one of the guys there?”

Me: “No, I’m the only one here today. Is there something I can help you with?”

Caller: “No that’s all right. When’s the next time one of them is in?”

Me: “[Coworker #1] will be in tomorrow morning.”

Caller: “Okay, thanks.”

Me: “Have a nice day.” *eye roll*

(After five years of this I get sick of it and finally stand up for myself. This has been my normal response for the past year:)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Self Storage]. This is [My Name] speaking. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Uh… is one of the guys there?”

Me: “No, I’m the only one here today. Is there something I can help you with?”

Caller: “No that’s all right. When’s the next time one of them is in?”

Me: “[Coworker #1] will be in tomorrow morning, but I assure you that I am more than capable of helping you. I’ve been working here for five years and know the system as well as anyone else.”

Caller: “Oh, okay, then can you look up my account and tell me my balance?” *gives information*

Me: “Your balance is [amount]. Is there anything else I can do for you today?”

Caller: “No, that’s all. Thank you!”

Me: “No problem. Have a nice day.” *eye roll*

(Apparently people assume I can’t complete tasks I learned on my first day here six years later.)

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A Race To Prove A Point

| NB, Canada | NB, Canada | Bigotry, Bosses & Owners, Job Seekers, New Hires

(I am the front desk manager at a hotel. It is important to note that I am a First Nations individual and I live on a First Nation reservation. It recently became necessary to hire a new front desk agent and since I had a number of resumes on file already, I chose to go through those before posting a new ad for the position. I call up all the qualified applicants and schedule interviews and finally decide on a potential candidate. Before I can offer him the position, my boss calls me into her office.)

Boss: “I think we need to have a talk.”

Me: “Okay, about what?”

Boss: “About you racially profiling potential applicants.”

Me: “Excuse me? Where is this coming from?”

Boss: “I went through your files and based on what I’m seeing, you only invited people with white sounding names in for interviews. The people with Middle Eastern or African sounding names were not called. You do realize this is a very serious offense? As in, grounds for immediate termination?”

Me: “Woah, hang on now. Where is this coming from? What makes you think I didn’t call them for interviews?”

Boss: “Well, I found your interview schedule and compared it to the resumes on file. Not one of these Middle Eastern or African people was scheduled. What else could that mean?”

Me: “Okay, first of all if you look at the notes attached to the resumes, you would see that I did call these people. The majority of them didn’t answer their phones and didn’t have voice mail and you can see here—“ *I point to a note on one of the resumes* “—I called at least three times, I even marked the date and time of each call. This one here wasn’t qualified, and this one has an address in Dubai and his number is international. It was an email resume and it was probably submitted by mistake. I can’t very well hire an individual who lives on another continent, can I?”

Boss: “Well, it still seems a little fishy to me. You never hire people of color and you seem to be geared towards white-only applicants. I think you might be racist.”

Me: “Are you being serious with me? First of all, I myself am a minority. I’m Native, remember? I’ve been the victim of racism myself here at work and elsewhere. You know that. Second of all, we live in a tiny mountain town in the middle of nowhere! 80% of the population is white! I can’t very well hire people of color if they don’t live here and don’t apply. Third, two of the people I interviewed were of color, one was even Asian and you told me I couldn’t consider him because none of our customers would be able to understand him due to his accent, so I don’t feel that your accusations are valid at all. I am very offended right now. Finally, you are the one assuming that these people are Middle Eastern or African based on their names, not me. I’m not the one racially profiling here.”

Boss: “Okay, okay, so maybe I jumped the gun a little bit here but you know I have to look out for the company. We can’t have rumors of racism running around the town. Listen, this guy here looks really good. Why don’t we hire him?”

Me: “Oh, no… I’m not even considering this guy.”

Boss: “And may I ask why not?”

Me: “Well, for starters he showed up to apply with one of his friends. They were sweaty and smelly from playing soccer and he didn’t even think to bring his resume. That right there tells me that he does not have common sense and is not very professional. Second, he barely speaks French and doesn’t speak a word of English. His accent is so thick that I could barely understand him in French and since the system and all our paperwork is in English he wouldn’t be able to even get his work done. So no, he is not a valid candidate.”

Boss: “See, this is what I mean; you are racist. He’s obviously black based on his last name and he has a bit of an accent so you don’t want to hire him. I am very disappointed in you; I’m considering this a verbal warning. You need to change your attitude and I think I might even look into sending you for sensitivity training.”

Me: “Okay, well, if that’s how you feel, do what you have to do.”

(The following day I am off when I get a text from my boss.)

Text: “I’ve just called [Applicant] and his accent is not nearly as bad as you let on. I think he is wonderful and I’ve offered him a position. He starts tomorrow.”

(I am a little annoyed and very skeptical about how well this new hire will work out. After exchanging a number of texts with my boss I determine that she has only hired him to work four nights per week, doing the night audit shift. She figures if he doesn’t have to serve customers his language skills won’t be an issue. I decided to pick my battles and let this one go. Fast forward three weeks. I have had nothing but trouble with this employee but I decide not to rub it in my boss’ face. This particular week I am off on vacation. My boss calls me at home near the end of my week. She has been covering for me at the front desk all week.)

Boss: “We need to talk seriously about [Applicant].”

Me: “Oh? What’s the problem?”

Boss: “He’s un-trainable! And miserable at that.”

Me: “Really? Why, whatever do you mean? I thought you said he was wonderful.”

Boss: “I can’t work with this guy! For one thing he doesn’t shower so he stinks and always has his friends coming in to see him. I come in at seven and he’s grumpy and ready to run out the door before I have my coat off. He never follows instructions, he forgets to do half of his job every night, and I’ve gotten a number of complaints from customers that he can’t understand them and isn’t able to fulfill their requests and that they can’t understand him. This morning [Best Client] and [Second Best Client] missed their train to work because he couldn’t understand their simple requests for a wake up call. They’re threatening to take their business elsewhere if we don’t replace him or teach him English. And on top of all that I have to keep re-teaching him things and each time it’s as though he’s learning it for the first time. He’s got no common sense… I could go on and on but I’m just so frustrated. I don’t know what to do.”

Me: “Well, for starters maybe next time you could learn to trust my judgment. You did put me in charge of managing the front desk staff. There had to be a reason for that.”

Boss: “Well, why didn’t you tell me not to hire him in the first place?”

Me: “…Really?”

(We ended up scheduling him for more training but it was a lost cause. This guy simply could not read the information on the screen and had no desire to do anything beyond receive a paycheck. He was so seriously unmotivated, we ended up letting him go. The guy I hired to replace him? He was Asian and was more than qualified. My boss never accused me of racial profiling again.)

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A Sizeable Fail

| Adelaide, Australia | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Coworkers, Health & Body

(We’ve recently gotten a new coworker who I can tell is not going to work out. Our store caters to a wide variety of sizes, and our plus size lines are very popular as it’s hard for bigger women to find decent looking but reasonably priced lingerie. My co-worker constantly finds a reason not to serve these women and then makes fun of them as soon as they leave, much to our disgust. She’s been spoken to by our supervisor and our service staff manager, but usually cries until they feel bad and send her on her way. Being a slightly larger woman myself at a size 18, she makes me very uncomfortable and often makes disapproving noises at me while I’m eating in the office on my break. She also constantly flirts with customer’s boyfriends or husbands, often right in front of their girlfriends or wives. A very, VERY attractive man in his mid-20s comes into our store, looking around, a little embarrassed. This is pretty normal. My co-worker sees him and instantly makes a beeline for him, even though she is supposed to stay on the register.)

Coworker: “Hi there! Welcome to [Lingerie Store]. I must say I’m a little sad to see you shopping in here. Does that mean you’re spoken for?”

(She says all this breathily while batting her eyelashes and standing way too close. The guy is clearly uncomfortable.)

Customer #1: “Uh, well, yes. I’m married.”

Coworker: *giggling like an idiot* “Aww, that’s too bad…”

Customer #1: “Uh, it’s my wife’s birthday next week, and she really hasn’t felt too great about herself since she had our daughter a few months ago. I’d like to get her something that would make her feel pretty.”

Coworker: “Oh, women absolutely ruin their bodies having children. I’ve never had any, so I’m still perfect all over!” *winks*

(At this point I’d like to go and help the poor guy escape, but I’m helping a customer. I can see that the two women standing by the front door looking at the racks are listening.)

Customer #1: Uh, I think she’s still perfect. It’s just that, well, SHE doesn’t.”

Coworker: *finally realising he’s not taking the bait* “Hmm, okay, if you say so. Do you know her size at least?”

Customer #1: *visibly relieved* “Yes actually, I checked the tag in one of her bras. She’s a 24; she used to be a double D but—“

Coworker: “She’s WHAT size?!”

Customer #1: “A 24?”

Coworker: *steps back* “Ew, that’s disgusting! Get out of here you sick freak!”

(At this point I drop the bras I’m holding and RUN to the customer.)

Me: “Sir, I am so sorry!” *to coworker* “What the h*** are you doing?!”

Coworker: “Get him out! There is no way a guy who looks like THAT would marry someone like that unless he’s one of those freaks who gets off on it!” *shouting at customer* “You sick freak! Get out!”

(The poor guy is standing there, mystified, when suddenly one of the customers from the entrance comes over.)

Customer #2: “Sir, I would like to sincerely apologise for the way this woman is acting. I assure you that’s not how we do business here, and if you’d wait just a moment for me to deal with this, I will get you anything your wife would like, on the house.”

Coworker: “Excuse me, who the h*** do you think you are?”

(The woman flips out the lanyard from inside her shirt. On it hangs one of our store IDs, with the words REGIONAL MANAGER written under her picture.)

Customer #2: “Hi. I’m your boss’s boss. Well, not anymore. You are officially being let go. Get out of my store, NOW.”

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Disabling Your Boss’s Attitude

| UK | Bigotry, Bosses & Owners, Criminal/Illegal, Health & Body

(I’m having major problems with a couple of managers refusing to make accommodations for my disabilities and threatening disciplinary action for taking my medications, saying I’m unable to work alone due to being epileptic, etc. I have a meeting with ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) and they come to the next meeting with the boss(es):)

Boss: “Right, you know why we’re here. This is a final warning for [My Name] due to her constant refusal to do her job and for bringing drugs into the office.”

Me: “I’ve brought along a few notes and my representative from ACAS here, and am going to say that what you are doing is illegal on several counts, not the least of which is the Disability Discrimination Act of 2010 which states I have a right to reasonable accommodations for disability and a right to take prescribed medications for said disabilities without interference from my employer.”

Boss: “I never said you could bring someone from ACAS in. Get them out.”

Me: “No. And my representative here can confirm I’m legally entitled to have an ACAS rep here?”

ACAS: “Yes. That it is.” *shows the relevant laws*

Boss: “This is just f****** unbelievable! I TOLD them not to hire a cripple and now we have all this s***! Do you realise, young lady, that you are actually COSTING the company money?”

Me: “All I want is to be able to do my job. I hardly think supervision out of hours, a disabled parking bay, and a suitable chair is ‘unreasonable’ and I believe the law backs me up here.”

Boss: “How about I just fire you?”

Me: “On what grounds?”

Boss: “I don’t see why I should spend money on a [really rude term for disabled] when I can get an able-bodied person in for half the cost.”

Me: “I think we’ve heard all we need to.”

ACAS: “Yes, I’d agree.”

(I filed an official grievance against my boss on the grounds of bullying and discrimination.)

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Baking Up A Storm

| Portland, OR, USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Bosses & Owners

(On my last day at a student employee position the other staff throws me a huge lunch potluck. I’m taking my last lunch in the break room when this conversation occurs. During the last few months of my time in the department, I’ve been bringing baked goods on Fridays because I love baking.)

Supervisor: “Have you written your last will? You know, who you’re leaving all your office possessions to?”

Me: “All I have here is a bottle of lotion and some instant coffee, and that’s going home with me. Ya’ll can fight over what you think is mine.”

Supervisor: “Then who’s taking over Friday bake-day duties?”

Me: “I don’t know. [Coworker] brought muffins in once that were tasty. Ask him to do it.”

Boss: “But he’s a guy. Men don’t bake, unless they’re f*gs.”

(Both my supervisor and I stared at our boss in horror, who just walked out of the room like nothing happened. Both my supervisor and I are gay. I’d worked for the department for nearly four years, and my supervisor had been there for over a decade, and we’d never heard our boss talk like that. To no one’s surprise, he was fired three months after for discrimination, and my supervisor got his old job.)

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