This office was recently investigated by the US Department of Labor for violations of the Fair Labor Act. WOU does not allow its employees to take lunch breaks because it considers driving from work site to work site or to pickup or drop off "consumers" an adequate break. I am not sure of the outcome of this portion of the complaint but the DoL did get the company to compensate some employees for off-the-clock work required earlier in 2008. A small victory.
However, employees are continuously berated for not updating the company "Portal" while a client is with the Career Resources Specialist (CRS). It is not good for the client, especially those who are unable to understand what a CRS is doing in front of a computer. This practice does not enhance a client's ability to function optimally in the community.
The company also requires that CRS' make up billable hours lost due to inclement weather, illness (on the part of the client or the CRS), or other unforeseen circumstances. Clearly the company wants to make up for the lost revenue. It is impossible to fit in additional hours to "make up" for the lost revenue by having the client come in for services on days that the client isn't normally scheduled for or when the CRS already has other client obligations, such as work support.
This company also refuses to provide raises during the CRS' first year of employment. Even once a year is completed the CRS may not earn a raise. The management will state that the CRS did not update all records on the "Portal" despite the fact that the CRS simply did not 1) know due to a severe lack of training, 2) have enough time, or 3) think that updating a computer database with a client in tow was a good way to provide the client service.
The culture within this company is negative in the extreme. Even though new hires are told that everyone is "equal" during the orientation (indoctrination), this is not the case. It is hierarchical. It is male-dominated and directors frequently make CRS' and Job Developers feel like they are worth less than dirt.
The pressure to fit in many of the job requirements into billable hours has likely resulted in defrauding the state and federal governments. CRS' are frequently left between a rock and a hard place when attempting to complete all of the administrative work required by the job. WOU won't pay them to do the work if it can't be done with a client.
The community support service of this company is a total joke. It in no way enhances a client's ability to function in the community. It is a mish-mash of walking the local mall, attempts to get volunteer positions, visits to the library where they sit and page through magazines or hanging out in coffee shops. There is no formalized method for improving a client's reading or math abilities.
When there is a CRS training, clients are *required* to attend the training even though the training is frequently beyond their understanding and they sit around coloring or playing tic tac toe games with their CRS. The company puts a premium on billable hours. Playing games is not a service. Its make work for the client that just allows the company to bill the government while training its employees.
There is no room for advancement within this company whether you are hired as a CRS, Job Developer, Director or Manager. Upper management simply doesn't want to give up its high pay in the interest of its employees.