I worked at a supermarket in western Massachusetts for five years. In my last year there, a group of overgrown junior high school students made up horrible sexual rumors about me, telling other people in the store that I was every kind of pervert they could think of, and harassed me whenever they got a chance. I was already suffering from two disabilites -- major depression and severe, crippling social anxiety disorder -- so I was barely able to even defend myself against these idiots, or defend my reputation to all those they told about my "perversions." Meanwhile, a girl I had been good friends with falsely accused ME of harassment, when I had been enduring this treatment for months. Management ran roughshod over me, automatically believing my female accuser, but did nothing about the people harassing me, saying I was just imagining it and that I should just suck it up and be a man about it, that it only mattered if women were harassed, despite their own written company rules and state and federal discrimination rules which, obviously, say men can be victims of harassment, too. [continued below]....
The smug a*s from human resources assigned to investigate the girl's B.S. complaint against me actually threatened to suspend me if I didn't tell him every one of the names of the people who were harassing me -- but then told me I was just imagining it and didn't even do an investigation at all, as he was required to do and did with the girl who falsely accused me. Not long after, I was forced to clean up a huge puddle of crap all over the bathroom floor by a manager and not given any sort of protective equipment at all, even gloves, even though, in addition to being absolutely disgusting, it was a huge biohazard. I ended up contracting hepatitis and was bedridden in the worst pain of my life for six weeks. That was the last straw. I wrote an angry letter to the store manager complaining about my treatment by co-workers and management all year, and was fired.
So, I went to then-UFCW Local 1459 Vice President -- now Secretary-Treasurer -- Richard Brown for help. Along with union stewards Jeffrey Jones and William Flynn, Rick Brown was supposed to represent me in grievance meetings with the company's human resources reps to get me rehired and help get me worker's comp. Unfortunately, the UFCW reps -- Rick Brown, especially -- proved to be just as big of jackasses as the company reps, if not more so, failed to represent me at all in three different grievance meetings and ridiculed me for, and illegally discriminated against me, over my disabilities.
As a result of my anxiety disorder, I am very shy and quiet and barely spoke during the third and final grievance meeting with human resources. Rick Brown did most of the talking, and, instead of saying simply that the treatment I was receiving at work made me feel worse like I wanted him to, he used my depression and anxiety disorder to argue that I was delusional and psychotic and just imagined the harassment that had gone on for months! I raised the issues of my depression and anxiety disorder in the letter I wrote to the store manager and with Rick Brown only to say that my treatment at work had been making me feel worse, and that, because of my anxiety disorder, I was basically defenseless against the harassment from co-workers and mistreatment from management. (This is why that group of co-workers chose me to harass in the first place, because I was such an easy target.) Instead of talking about how co-workers and management harassed me and discriminated against me because of my disabilities, Rick Brown used my disabilities against me, discriminating against me -- and humiliating me -- himself.
Whenever I tried to make a point about the very real harassment against me that prompted my letter to the store manager, Rick Brown would interrupt me, say the human resources reps shouldnt listen to me because I was delusional, and try to steer the conversation back to my "insanity." He even said it didnt matter if the company ever did an investigation of my harassment claims, obviously because he didnt think I had really been harassed in the first place.
He kept ridiculing the things I wrote in the letter, including my saying I would go to the EEOC or MCAD about the harassment if the manager didnt finally do something about it. He even told a long, rambling story about another employee once at the company who was schizophrenic who thought the TV told him to throw kitty litter all the over the store, comparing my actions and mental state to his.
Eventually, he just started agreeing with whatever the human resources reps said, basically arguing their side for them. I told him I didnt think he was being very helpful, and he said, sarcastically, "Youre right, I did a horrible job." The human resources reps, not surprisingly, decided not to rehire me. Im not sure why he thought arguing that I was psychotic would get me my job back. Why would they want to take me back if I was insane?
After the meeting, I told Rick Brown that I didnt like what he had said in there, that I "wasnt delusional or psychotic," and he laughed and said "Thats what you think!" I said "So, youre a psychiatrist now?" and he just laughed again, looking at me like I was crazy, shaking his head, and kept repeating "Okay, whatever you say... Ill be in touch" and walked away. I could have said "The sky is blue" and he would have reacted the same way. He clearly thought that I was insane, and he had argued in the meetings that it was because of my depression and anxiety disorder. That was when I told him I would no longer be in need of his, or the UFCW's, services. Who would want to be represented by some juvenile jerk who just spent an hour doing absolutely nothing but repeatedly calling him delusional and implying that he was insane and making fun of him and then called him psychotic right to his face and laughed at him about it????
Even the HR reps and the managers didnt think I was crazy. In fact, the one they sent to -- finally -- investigate the claims in my letter said in the first grievance meeting he thought I was a "very articulate young man" -- and this was from the guy who fired me! He also said that if he could prove the allegations I made in the letter I wrote that he would fire the people who said those awful things about me. The company that fired me believed me more than Rick Brown and the UFCW, who were supposed to be representing me, did! Later, the company's EEOC spokesman actually made a real attempt to get me rehired and negotiated a fair settlement with me, treating me with respect the entire time. Its extremely sad that a spokesman from the company did such a better job of representing me than Rick Brown or the UFCW did and was a much nicer guy, too, but thats not difficult to do when youre talking about Rick Brown.
Apparently, Rick Brown thinks all mental illnesses are exactly the same and cause people to have delusions. This is a pretty serious, and insulting, error. It is also not up to "opinion" whether someone suffers from a mental disorder or not. I dont know what made him think he was qualified to make a diagnosis of my mental state. My psychiatrist actually laughed at Rick Brown trying to diagnose me, asked where he obtained his medical degree, and said maybe he was the delusional one and should come in for treatment. Whether Rick Brown believed he was helping me or not, he should not have been arguing that I was psychotic based on a single letter I wrote, and he should not have been arguing that people with depression and anxiety disorders are "delusional." I did not want my job back if it meant arguing that I was psychotic.
Rick Brown and the entire UFCW Local 1459 also didn't do one single thing to assist me in getting workers comp, like they said they would do. The company filed a workers comp claim on my behalf, as they were required by law to do, and I hired an attorney to ensure I got the money I shouldve earned during the six weeks I was in bed in the worst pain of my life, and I eventually got that money, with no help from the UFCW whatsoever. The closest thing anyone in the UFCW did in "helping" me with workers comp was Rick Brown asking me how that was going. Wow. What would I have done without him? The company itself was more helpful.
I myself had to file a complaint with OSHA, because Rick Brown and the other union stewards said they wanted to use that as a bargaining tool, i.e. that they would threaten to tell OSHA if I wasnt rehired, which probably wouldnt intimidate a multi-billion dollar corporation, so I guess Rick Brown and his cohorts were being a little "delusional" themselves. I felt OSHA needed to know about my situation so something like this wouldnt happen to another worker in the store. The UFCW reps didnt seem concerned about that.
OSHA did a surprise inspection the day after I called them, cited the company for numerous safety and health violations, fined them, and made them agree to implement a training program "to those whose job includes cleaning the bathrooms." This did NOT in any way come about from the UFCWs efforts. It was entirely my own initiative, and it was OSHA who forced the store to, literally, clean up its act, not the UFCW, which didn't even try to do anything.
So, I was subjected to threats and ridicule by management and human resources, and the UFCW did nothing to help. The UFCW also did not do an investigation of my claims of harassment, which were greatly interfering in my job. Union steward Jeff Jones just sat there in a meeting with a manager over that silly girl's harassment claim against me, and when I said that I was the one who was actually being harassed, the fat, bloated, obnoxious, wrinkly old hag manager ridiculed me, and they both tried to convince me no one was saying anything about me or harassing me, even though I had just met both of them, Jeff Jones worked in a department on the other side of the store, and that manager didnt even work in the store at all, so neither of them could possibly know that. Jeff Jones also told me he "couldnt go after the HR guy" and could only "make a note of it" when I told him about the human resources rep threatening me. Well, thats helpful!
Before the second grievance meeting, I told Rick Brown that I had hired a lawyer to represent me for workers comp and the harassment and discrimination issues. He laughed and said "Well, my lawyer can beat your lawyer!" Seriously. A full-grown adult said this. Union steward Bill Flynn actually paused and responded that "I dont think it really matters whose lawyer can beats whose lawyer." This is Rick Browns maturity level. Then, later, during the meeting, after Bill changed Rick's diaper for him, Rick Brown ridiculed me by calling me immature for things I said in the letter! He said I wrote "He likes her, she likes him, and all that junior high stuff." Besides the fact that I never wrote anything like that -- whoever read the letter to you, Rick, wasnt too bright, but that's to be assumed if he was voluntarily talking to you -- he just made the most juvenile remark imaginable to me before the meeting! I thought I left "Oh yeah, well my dad can beat your dad!" behind in elementary school, but I guess I was wrong.
He also mocked and ridiculed me for hiring a lawyer, just like he mocked and ridiculed me in the second and third grievance meetings for saying that I was going to go to the "EEOC, MCAD or anything else with an acronym." Besides the fact that the EEOC and MCAD arent even acronyms -- leave the clever jokes to clever people, Rick -- that is what you are supposed to do if you are discriminated against or harassed at work. Rick Brown and the UFCW thought the idea of my filing a complaint with the EEOC and MCAD -- and the EEOC and MCAD themselves -- was ridiculous and a big joke.
Later, after the second grievance meeting, Jeff Jones claimed that he was the store manager's "arch-nemesis" (again, this was actually coming from a full-grown adult) but in none of the meetings that I had with him present did he ever stick up for me or say anything at all! He talked a good game outside, but inside, when it actually counted, he was timid and cowardly and did absolutely nothing to try and help me. Like Rick Brown and the UFCW, he was completely useless. Because of that fact, and because of his scraggly, werewolf beard, I gave Jeff Jones a nickname: Hairy Useless. Feel free to use it.
Incidentally, if the response David Rome -- the UFCW's attorney -- wrote to the disability discrimination complaint I later filed against the UFCW with the EEOC and MCAD was any indication where he tried to argue that I didnt have a disability at all, did not get injured at work at all, or was never friends with the girl I was accused of "harassing" at all -- when I already provided evidence for all three to the EEOC and MCAD, then my seven year-old nephew can beat your lawyer, Rick. Seriously, this man went to Harvard? Was Mr. Rome a legacy admission, or was the school implementing a special program called "Operation: Admit the Dumb" the year he was accepted?
Rick Brown, not surprisingly, tried to blame the company not rehiring me on me, saying "we had them by the balls before you wrote that letter." Considering that I got Stop & Shop cited and fined for safety violations and forced to implement new safety programs, through OSHA; won my workers comp claim and got Stop & Shop to pay all of my medical bills from my workplace injury, through my lawyer; and negotiated a settlement all on my own with the company, through the EEOC mediation process, being awarded monetary damages for being harassed and forcing the company to agree to a list of concessions, including management having to take a harassment "education" course which I hope they REALLY enjoyed -- and actually fully investigate all claims of harassment, taking male complaints as seriously as female complaints, I would say that I was the one who "had them by the balls," not Rick Brown and the UFCW, who did absolutely nothing to help me, or at all.
Rick Brown and UFCW attorney David Rome even said that it was delusional for me to accuse corporate management and personnel of doing anything wrong at all! No one is above the law, or the standards of the company they work for, both of which these people broke. Were Rick Brown and the UFCW -- who claim to "represent" workers against management -- suggesting that its "crazy" or futile to accuse higher-ranking employees of misdeeds and expect them to be punished for it? Funny, but I thought the UFCW was there to protect workers from management, to be an equalizer against the greater "power" of higher-ranking employees, even against "high-level managers." Were Rick Brown and the UFCW suggesting that "higher-level managers" are exempt from accusations of harassment and discrimination and that they shouldnt be punished, including being fired, if they engage in these practices? In that case, Rick Brown and the UFCW dont really represent or protect workers at all at least not "lower-level" ones, like little old me.
No wonder the UFCW has repeatedly -- and pathetically -- failed in every single one of its efforts to organize Wal-Mart workers, meaning the largest retail or any employer in the country continues to be unrepresented. Think of how many discrimination cases the EEOC has had to deal with from Wal-Mart. I bet there would be a lot less if all these employees had someone representing them. Maybe if the UFCW leaders -- including Rick Brown -- weren't so busy counting the money from their six-figure incomes and getting chapped lips from kissing corporate a*s all day, every day, theyd actually do some good. Unions in this country were bought off a long time ago by corporate interests, and they came at rock-bottom prices. "Wake Up UFCW!"
I filed a disability discrimination complaint with the EEOC and MCAD -- and "everything else with an acronym" -- and, unlike with my case against the company, where they settled right away, Rick Brown decided to add insult to injury by lying his a*s off and contesting the complaint -- or, more accurately, had his lawyer, David Rome, do it. That's how much of a p***y Rick Brown is. Rick Brown is a big boy now and should have to fight his own battles instead of cowardly hiding behind his lawyers skirt. I could not afford a lawyer at the time. (The one I had for the case against the company worked on a contingency basis.) If I could have -- and if the law didn't force people to go through the EEOC and MCAD first and wait until Halley's Comet comes back just to hear if they're going to go forward with the case or not -- I would have hired my own lawyer, and sued the UFCW and Rick Brown, personally, for every penny they are collectively worth: all twenty of them.
Instead, I had to wait FIVE YEARS for the EEOC and MCAD investigators assigned to my case -- after making every conceivable bumbling, idiotic mistake -- to send me the results of their investigation. They had lost the letter I wrote in response to the UFCW's response to my complaint, along with all of the evidence I had sent to them, and just repeated what the UFCW's attorney wrote in his response, practically word for word! After spending half a decade "investigating," the EEOC and MCAD just sided with the UFCW and threw out my complaint without even looking at my side of the story!
Well, thanks to Ripoffreport.com, I can not only tell my story, I can go public with it. Everyone should know what a lying, cheating, hypocritical, arrogant, moronic, delusional, worthless piece of garbage UFCW Local 1459 Secretary-Treasurer Richard Brown is. (They actually promoted the ignorant son of a b***h! Is mouth-breathing the only criteria they look for???) All of the UFCW higher-ups only care about themselves and their six-figure incomes and they -- and union reps like Jeff Jones and Bill Flynn; and their attorney, David Rome -- do little to help workers when it really comes down to it. In the case of workers with disabilities, they not only do nothing to help, they also ridicule and illegally discriminate against workers, too, and then lie about it.
I just read an article online where David Rome talked about having anti-harassment rules written into union contracts with companies to prevent bullying, in the wake of a local high school student committing suicide after being harassed for months and school faculty doing nothing about it. It's too bad someone had to actually die before David Rome, Richard Brown and the UFCW began taking the issue of bullying and harassment seriously. I'm sure they still don't take it seriously for male workers at all, and continue to discriminate against workers with psychological disabilities when they allege bullying and harassment by simply dismissing them as crazy. I wonder who else will have to die before the UFCW finally stands up for ALL of its workers -- especially the most vulnerable -- and starts to actually practice what it preaches.