The Denver Sales Center of Georgia Pacific is now part of a company know as Bluelinx Corporation. I worked as a 'temp to perm' employee from October 2003 to February 2004. At that time I was hired on as a permanent employee in the accounting and reloads section. I was fired on April 22, 2005.
Over the next year, my manager's micromanagement techniques became worse. In the time period that I worked for this company, the turn over in the department was 200%. On March 22, 2005 I requested a meeting with my manager to discuss her management and the overall feelings of her department.
(Two weeks prior she had a meeting with each employee of the department to individually to ask us what we thought the 'turn over' problem was. I know she did not get many honest answers for fear of reprisal.)
I communicated to her that many employees in her department felt as if they were constantly being watched; that they felt completely expendable; unappreciated; and stressed. I also informed her that several valuable employees were looking for new jobs despite their satisfaction with the company overall.
I also told her that I was doing this despite the fact that I felt this would put a 'black mark' on my record because I felt it was important for her to know. This meeting lasted about 15 minutes and I felt it was unproductive. My manager's responses were "I can't help how people feel; I can't help if they want to go elsewhere; I don't have to recognize a job well done" etc. In this meeting I was polite and straight forward.
On April 15th, I received a favorable review from my 'team lead' and my manager. However, in this meeting I discussed my personal feelings with them regarding an email that my team lead had sent me the week prior reminding me that "I owed the company 20 minutes that week due to a dental appointment".
I specifically told them that I felt this to be a personal insult as I was always at least 15 minutes early everyday and due to my military background I understood what my obligations were to the company. I was also eligible (due to performance) to receive my 3% raise in June.
On April 22nd, I was called into a conference room at 4:25 in the afternoon and informed that I was fired due to email policy violation by my manager and the company HR person. I was informed that company policy for violation 'included up to and including termination' and that my manager was choosing to exercise termination.
I was not given any paperwork of my termination. I was simply told to turn in my badge and leave the premesis. They did not ask why. They did not provide any supporting documentation. At no time previous to this point had I received either verbal or written warnings.
That evening I was called by a fellow employee. I had sent this employee an email in which I discussed business but there was also one line that did not cover business. Her emails had been pulled as well. Apparently my manager had confronted her manager and demanded that she be fired.
This fellow employee's manager chose to exercise the options open to him and suspended her without pay for one week after which she was allowed to return to her job. I also know that a number of employees have had both verbal and written warnings but had been allowed to retain their jobs.
The day after I was fired, I filed for unemployment. My unemployment was denied by the company. They cited incompetency in their paperwork. Their supporting documentation included an email that had been sent to the entire department (the prior year!) about some invoices that needed to be paid; a mistake that I had made the previous year due to ineffective training, and some private notes that my manager had typed into some file (that I was unaware of) without my response to what was a minor issue.
I filed for an appeal hearing. Ten minutes prior to my hearing, my former manager, the HR person, my former team lead, and my current team lead arrived for the meeting and handed me a stack of papers. They were promptly informed that this tactic would not be allowed. They were questioned by the hearing officer as to whether or not they were citing incompetency or violation of company email policy. They chose to go with the latter but their documents were not allowed.
In this meeting, one of the statements made by my former manager was a lie. (Should I have to I can produce the person that she lied about and evidence that what she said was untrue.) I found out that they had been monitoring my emails daily from March 25th (coincidence that I had a chat with my manager on March 22nd?)through April 22nd.
I did admit to sending personal emails in this hearing. My unemployment was denied and I am debating filing an appeal even though I lost the initial appeal.
When I got home, I had a chance to review the paperwork provided by my former collegues. It appears to me that they were 'paper stacking'. There is a copy of my initial job application, 2 copies of my unemployment filing, some copies of invoices that I had paid, copies of some registers, 8 blank pages, and of course some emails. Of those emails only 12 were emails that I had initiated. Of those 12, only 3 went outside the office.
Out of the remaining paperwork are personal emails that fellow employees forwarded to me. They are currently STILL employed. There are a number of emails from people working for other companies that I had daily business contact with that I did not respond to or forward to anyone. I had simply deleted them once I confirmed that it was not business related.
I fail to understand how managers within a company can be allowed to exercise varying degrees of disciplinary action without having to follow a pre-set protocol. I also fail to understand how a manager can exercise varying degrees of action within their own department.
I also feel (very strongly) that I was marked for firing due to expressing my opinions (and those of the department) to my manager regarding her management techniques. I feel that this manager was possibly intimidated by me (I ride a motorcycle and was jokingly nicknamed 'the biker by fellow employees!)and felt that instead of keeping me it was easier to simply willfully collect evidence to be used for my firing.
Additionally, this company does not provide 'new hires' with any company policies whatsoever. There is no employee handbook. Issues are simply addressed as they come up. For example, I was not provided with a copy of the "Occurences" policy until I had reached my third absence in a rolling calendar year. (Our manager tracked these in a black book. Any sick days, family emergency days, etc that are not covered by a personal day - there are no accrued sick days - are called an occurence. You are allowed to have three within a rolling calendar year, starting with the date of your first absence. The fourth is taken out of your pay; the 5th is a write up; and the 6th is potential firing depending on the manager.)
I was informed of the email policies in November of 2004 - at this time I was NOT an employee of that company. I am very tempted to file a descrimination lawsuit but I have no idea how to proceed.
Highlands Ranch, Colorado