ED Magedson – Founder
Rent A Center1806 Central Park Shopping Ctr Aberdeen, North Carolina USA
Rent A Center SEXUAL ASSAULT/ DISCRIMINATION OF RACE AND GENDER Aberdeen North Carolina
I started working at the Rent A Center store in Aberdeen, NC, on March 23, 2013. I was very excited about joining the company, especially due to the company having incredible benefits. I had been employed for myself since the early 90's, except for the occassional part-time jobs that I would work for extra income. Little did I know what I was going to be up against.
During the first couple of months of working at the store as an account manager (that being the low man on the totem pole), the group of co-workers and managment seemed to make me believe that I had definitely chose the right company to join. It seemed as though we were one big happy family. There were times that jabs would be thrown at me due to my race and gender. I am a white 43yr old female. Sometimes they would make comments, saying that if I expect to keep my position with the company, then I better be able to pickup and move the furniture and appliances like the men of the company do. I never ever made attempts to not try my hardest to do so. Many times, I would have to pickup or deliver washers and dryers, refrigerators or recliners by myself, using the company van. Using the van would be hard because it did not have the lifting gate on it, but I would do it anyways. I also was one of the top 3, even sometimes being the number 1 account manager in the district.
June 11, 2013 was a date that I will never forget. One of our Assistant Managers quit without any notice, another was on vacation and another was off on his scheduled day off, leaving my manager and I alone at the store. Sometime that afternoon, I had requested to go out on the road to make home visits to my customers ( which I almost did daily). He responded by saying "I believe that I am going to keep you here with me all day long". Later on he offered for me to join him for a cigarette outside of the back of the store. While we were out there, he started making comments about if we were to go out some time clubbing and and have drinks, then we might wake up in the bed next to one another and saying uh oh. I laughed it off, thinking that he was just joking around. We finished up our cigarette and went to go back inside. He was walking in front of me and I was a few feet behind him. He suddenly turned around and placed his hands on his knees and bent down acting like a football player saying " Hut 1...Hut 2...Hut 3". He then ran towards me and picked me up. I started hitting him on his shoulder and telling him to let me down because I was too heavy to be picked up. I thought he was just goofing off. Then I started realizing that he wasn't. He carried me a little ways to a wall and pushed me up against it and started pressing himself against me and making sexual moves on me, moaning and groaning and saying things like Oh baby and doesn't that feel good. Through the whole time that I'm hitting him on his shoulder, telling him to stop acting so crazy and silly.
I was afraid to say to much to him, especially to incinuate that he was sexually harrassing me because for one, he was the store manager and I desperately needed a job, for two, we were the only ones in the store and for three, there were NO cameras in the whole store, so it would be my word against his. I immediately walked to the show room and into my office. For the next couple of hours I tried to dodge being alone with him in the back of the store and tried to stay busy in my office, mostly staying on the phone so I didn't have to have any conversation with him.
After I got home, I told my roommate what had happened. She suggested that I turn him in to upper management. I started crying, telling her that I was afraid to because when I was a small child I had experienced molestation for many years and I had to go through so much after I went to the law about it. Even people that I knew and thought had my best interest at heart questioned, what I had confided to them, making me feel as though it was my fault and if it even really happened. People didn't discuss things like that back then and it was pretty much swept under a rug and kept as a dark family secret. Only when he finally admitted to years of molesting me and then being convicted and sent to prison, did I receive apologies. I thought to myself, that if it was so hard to make people understand and believe me at 4yrs old to 16 yrs old, then why on earth would anyone believe me now. I fell asleep crying and not knowing what to do about the incident that happened at work.
The very next day, June 12, 2013, I confided in my assistant manager. I begged to only tell him what happened if he would promise not to say anything. He promised that he wouldn't. I was off on Thursday, June 13, 2013 and returned the day after. I asked my assistant manager if he said anything and he said that he didn't. On June 15, 2013, my store manager started yelling at me and was treating me pretty bad most of the day. I started crying and he said that he knew that I told my assistant manager. I didn't know what to say. As soon as I was able to clock out of work, I did and left without saying anything to anyone.
On Monday, June 17, 2013, we had a store meeting. The three of us sat down and he started talking about me not being loyal. I started crying once again, saying that I didn't think anyone that I worked with was being loyal to me. My assistant spoke up and started saying that he hoped that I wasn't implying anything about what he had said to the manager. He said that he thought that it was his duty to question him and he said that he told the manager to never touch or play around like that with me again. I said that I just wanted things to get back to the way it was before the incident because I had loved my job and that I needed it so bad. I made a promise to never tell anyone about it.
The store manager started treating me really bad for the next couple of months. It seemed as though I was aLways having to stand up for myself and most days I would leave crying. Many days, I would even have to step outside or go into the ladies room because I would start crying. Finally one day, I had enough. I told him that I was quitting. I went to my office crying and gathering up my personal belongings to leave. My assistant manager and co-worker were in the show room hearing the comotion. He came into my office and kept asking me not to leave. I was crying and telling him that I couldn't take it anymore. He asked me to come to his office to talk to him. He promised not to treat me bad anymore and told me that he needed me there because I was really good at my job. I told him that I would and then we left to go home. I was scheduled off the next day. I returned back on August 2, 2013. I was told that the corporate office was on the phone and needed to talk to me. The woman from the HR Dept. started telling me that there was an investigation that was taking place because of an alleged sexual harrassment. I was in shock because I knew that I hadn't said anything. I told her that I didn't want to talk about it and that I needed my job. She told me that if I didn't coroporate with the investigation, then I wouldn't be allowed to work until the investigation was over. I told her the incident but was afraid because I knew my store manager and my district manager were pretty close. I hung up the phone and went to my assistant crying. He sent me home for the day with pay. The next day I had off. I returned back to work at another store on August 5,2013.
Most of the day I cried. I left work during my lunch break and didn't return because I was having a panic attack. My district manager called me and said that I had to meet my regional manager and himself to be interviewed for the investigation. During the interview, my regional manager asked me if I had told anyone. I told him that I told my roommate, my children and my assistant manager. I asked if I had done something wrong. He said no, that he couldn't tell me who to talk with about the incident. He also asked me if I had said or done anything to provoke my manager to have done that to me. I started crying, saying that was exactly the reason why I didn't come forth to begin with. I started raising my voice, saying that I didn't want to talk about it anymore. He said that we had to finish because he needed the investigation to be completed that day because he had a store manager wondering and worrying if he had a job any longer. They fired him later that day. I returned to work at my store the following day.
I felt like I was walking on egg shells most of time thereafter. Most days I would cry going to work and leaving work. On August 19, 2013, I went to a customers home. This wasn't any ordinary customer though. This customer had called and texted me a few times for personal reasons. He had my phone number because when I first started working for the company, I was instructed to picture message a stereo to him by the manager. So from time to time, he would contact me asking me out to dinner or on a date. I never did though. The day I went to his home to deliver a computer, he was screaming and yelling about the computer and saying he was dissatisfied. I offered to take it back and get him a new one. He said to try and help him figure the computer out. He started talking about how many store managers that we go through and questioned why our store manager had been fired. I told him of the incident.
I was fired on August 22,2013, for breaking confidentiality. I had no clue that I had broken any rules. I never wanted get anyone fired, but I also couldn't handle it any longer. Since everything has taken place, I have panic attacks. I cry all of the time. And now I'm having nightmares about what happened through my childhood. I have filed my complaint with the EEOC in Raleigh, NC and pray that a lawyer will take my case. I never ever ever thought that I would be going through this nightmare all over again.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/05/2013 06:02 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Rent-A-Center/Aberdeen-North-Carolina-28315/Rent-A-Center-SEXUAL-ASSAULT-DISCRIMINATION-OF-RACE-AND-GENDER-Aberdeen-North-Carolina-1082086. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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