First off, without reprisal or possible lawsuit from my former employer, Sterling Payment Technologies of Tampa, FL, I am not using my first real name. After leaving the company as an employee, I can not put into words how much better my life is. I will often find the good to say about the employers I have worked for, but this is one employer that I can not honestly find anything nice to say.
I held a position with the company for several years, during the economic collaspe. I stayed loyal to the company and never strayed. I was all about seeing the economic problems through and understood that Sterling Payment Technologies was probably dealing with similar problems.
As such, I understood at one point in my tenure, there was a hiring freeze and that moving from one department in the company to another was impossible. I had no problem with this. As soon as this was lifted, I was interested in other positions in the company. The first position I applied for, I never received a response from anyone in management or HR. I understand that a large number of people from the "outside" may be applying for the same position, but I was on the inside of the company and never heard anything.
It was later discovered that the reason that I was not placed in the new position is because my manager was keeping me from going over to the position because I was one of the few, within the company, that knew my job tasks. Not only was this individual holding me back, but I later found out that the company would not advance me in this position because of my perceived or acknowledged sexual orientation. Even though, on several ethical levels, this was not right, the state of Florida gave me no recourse in the matter. Furthermore, at the time, I was not willing to leave an employer while the economy was stagnant and was only getting worse every month.
Like a sucker, though, I stayed with the company for 2 more years after this event. I tried to apply for a job a second time. I should have knew that I was only a glutton for punishment. After filling out all the forms and actually having a full discussion with my manager and talking with the manager of the position I was trying for, I only found out, not a week later, someone else was selected. Did I find out from HR? No. Did I find out from the manager that found someone else? No. I found out from my own manager.
Think this is bad enough? Oh no, it got worse. Far more worse. Because of Sterling Payment Technologies, I went 2 solid years without a raise. No raise. Even though the economy was not the best, my finances were not getting any better and I went without for several years because of this impact. The company was not willing to give a merit pay increase or a cost of living raise. This was a solid embarassment. My manager would just tell me that I was doing a good job and performing above all his/her expectations, but I was not getting a raise. The first year it happened, I totally understood and dealt with it because I understood how dire the economy was. The next year rolled around and I was assuming there would be some level of an increase in pay compensation.
Did this happen? No, unfortunately for me, it did not happen. I mean, I get one year without a raise, but two? That was too much, especially when I saw execs driving in the top of the line, luxury vehicles and laughing about how much the company was making. I felt like my livelihood was being ripped right out of me.
This would be enough to make anyone go screaming for the hills, but in addition to this, I had one manager sit there and bring everyone in my work group together and completely talk down to us and even stated that if we were not happy, we could hit the road. Why would he bring a team of people and say such a thing? It just seemed way over the top dramatics and this individual was so over the line for treating his employees this way.
The work environment was mentally & emotionally hostile. Co-workers were stabbing each other in the back and several had mood swings and paranoia that normally filtered over to others. Many felt like they were better because they were more tenured and they did everything in their power to make you look like you were doing something wrong. The division I worked for had me going home crying like I was worthless. I picked up a horrible drinking habit to make me cope with the hostility of the workplace. I would not wish any of this on my worse enemy. Luckily, my drinking went down after leaving, but the health effects from over drinking is a proven fact on how it can affect your physical body and organs.
I have been gone for several years and I am finally comfortable with writing something. I am sure the company may be doing better, but the company left a mark on me that will last forever and I told my co-workers this before I left. I was a good employee, which worked hard and gave it my all. When I told them that the company left a mark on me, I did not tell them what sort of mark. If they only knew, if they only knew.
Also, while looking for another job position, it became clear that Sterling Payment Technologies never wanted me to leave. I had my resume out on several websites like Careerbuilder, Monster, TampaBayHelpWanted, and other associated websites. Apparently, HR cared and alerted my manager like I committed some crime. Guess what, my current employer does not care and I still have my resume listed. I never realized my outside activities was so heavily scrutinized by HR or management to even address the matter.
In closing, it is several years of my life I will never get back. If other employees, former or current started a class action, I would be so willing to get involved with it. No match on the 401k, health benefits that are horrible, no domestic partner benefits, blatant and apparent discrimination and favoritism exhibited on a regular basis, no pension, no profit sharing, and not to leave out, when I left the company, I forfeited 23 hours of Paid Time Off that I earned and they would not pay to me.