ED Magedson – Founder
Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc.12777 Atlantic Blvd. Girvin Plaza Jacksonville, Florida United States of America
I have worked for Winn-Dixie for the past sixteen years of my life, and during the tail end of my employment there, like the past three to fours years, and even before that, but I no longer possess a record of those times, I have had my regular hours shaved by certain managers, and I have been ripped off of my overtime as well( I have a 20 page document that proves it). Not only that, but I have been subjected to the most unfair treatment, by many of those same managers, because somewhere along the way, one of them found out that I had been keeping a record of those same illegal activities which they were committing , and therefore, from that point on they did their best to force me out the door, by various little tricks to both put pressure on me, by bringing in very hard-nosed managers who went out of their way to focus their attention solely on me and what they claimed was my failure to follow company policies and also by helping to promote an atmosphere of hostility among the other members of the stock crew whom I worked with.
Some of the ways they did this was by doubling our workload and making us help out in other departments once we were finished with our own duties, by bringing in huge trucks and expecting a crew of just 3 or 4 to stock the entire load in 5 or 6 hours, by taking one or two members of the stock crew and putting them to work doing other things thereby forcing the rest of us to stay late and work extremely long hours on those days, and by readjusting our schedules in the middle of the week, so that we were unable to make any personal plans, or if we did, then we had to change them because of our commitment to the company. There are also other little cruel and hurtful tactics which this company constantly employed to help foster a very bitter and resentful attitude among all the guys I worked with, which recently manifested itself on one night in particular when I was forced to make a somewhat unwise decision, because all of that bitterness I spoke of was suddenly directed at me.
The incident I speak of happened back on June 14th of last year, during which time I was being harassed by certain members of the stock crew when I went in to work overnight with them. I had just gotten back from taking a month off for a hernia operation, which I know was a direct result of all the heavy work I had done there for the past 16 years. However, I did not claim workmens compensation, even though I shouldve. Anyway, from the very moment I clocked in I could sense a certain tension in the air, most of which seemed directed at me, and it only got worse as the night progressed. A couple crew members snapped at me, others just seemed to not wanna be around me. One stock crew member seemed to take a particularly hostile attitude towards me. However, it all came to a head when myself, and the rest of the stock crew took our meal together in the break room. While I was in there, this new guy named Mike began to ask me very personal questions about my sex life, making me feel very uncomfortable, purposely trying to humiliate me in front of the other guys because Im overweight. The other guys, though not directly involved at that point, still snickered and made little comments, adding even more fuel to the fire.
As Mike kept provoking me, I could feel myself getting ready to explode, so in order to keep from making a bad situation get worse, I left. I unintentionally gave up sixteen years of service and benefits because I was pushed to the point of duress and felt like I had no other choice then to just withdraw myself before I did or said something that I would be unable to take back, or make better.
The supervisor, who was in the break room when all of this went on, heard what was being said to me, and yet did nothing to stop it. As a matter of fact, when these inappropriate questions were being asked of me, she got up and walked out of the break room, leaving me to deal with the harassment as best I could. Well, after unsuccessfully attempting to withdraw myself from the situation in a somewhat tactical manner where I could both save face and not cause the conflict to escalate, I clocked out and went home. However, I did make it clear to this supervisor that I was not quitting, rather I was just getting out of there because I could not take it anymore. But, thats not how the location manager, Mike, viewed what happened.
When I talked to him later that morning, he said that what I did was basically abandonment of my job. He said that since I did not go through the proper chain of command to get the problem resolved, then I was the one at fault. Even though I told him about the supervisor being right there, and hearing what went on, and yet not attempting to stop it, he said it was still my fault, and that I shouldve let the supervisor talk to the guys, and straighten things out. I told him that I was so mad at the time, that I was not even thinking straight, so it was pretty much impossible for me make any clear, logical decisions right then. I just knew I had t get out of there before the situation exploded. But, even though I went out of my way to try and make him see things from my standpoint, I was the one at fault in his eyes, and that was not going to change. Anyway, I asked Mike right then if I was fired, and he said he had been in touch with corporate about what happened, and was just waiting to talk to them, before he made up his mind one way or the other.
Well, after four days of waiting, after numerous phone calls from me, after leaving message after message, trying to track down Mike to find out what he was going to do, he finally got back to me, and called me in for a meeting. The meeting only lasted about 5 minutes though. Just long enough for him to let me know that the company had decided to sever ties with me. Normally, when a man can control his temper in the face of such trying circumstances, hes admired for it, but not in this day and age and definitely not by this company. Looking back now, Im pretty sure I was being set up by the company because they all knew that I had dirt on them and also because Im a high wage earner and thats another thing this company is good for. Doing all they can to try and push top wage earners out the door, so that they can hire people who will do the same amount of work or more, for less money. Ive seen it happen before to people Ive worked with and admired. People who went out of their way every single day by both staying late and doing more than they were asked to do. People who sacrificed so many years of their lives, gave their blood, sweat and tears and did everything they in their power to help this company prosper, only to be stabbed in the back and forced out the door to either make room for one of the managers favorites, or as I said, to get others in there who would work for less money. But, anyway, back to what happened to me.
During Mikes explanation of why he was letting me go, he kept bringing up the fact that I had not gone through the proper chain of command to get the situation resolved. But what he failed to realize, is that the chain of command was broken when the supervisor walked out of that break room. From that point on, there was no chain of command to go through. Now, according to the chain of command, the supervisor shouldve stepped in and stopped what was going right then, before it got out of control. But since she didnt. She got up and walked out, allowing the harassment to continue. So, essentially, she gave up her position in the chain of command right there. From that point on, those guys in the break room where in command of the situation and like it or not, they were in control of whatever happened after that, but they were not in control of me. On a side-note here, I talked to someone a while back, who still works there and he told me that the new guy, Mike, who was harassing me in the break room, left the company about a month or two after this incident took place. So, that leads me to the conclusion that he was only brought in to help get me out the door. Then once the damage was done, he left. Seems kind of odd, doesnt it?
So, here it is close to a year later, and I still have not found a job. Ive put in dozens of applications everywhere, and not one single place Ive applied to has gotten back to me. I had to of course put Winn-Dixie down as my last place of employment, so the places I applied to have no doubt called my former job, and talked to Mike, who Im sure gave me a somewhat less then glowing review. You see, the other places Ive worked at while Ive lived in Jacksonville have closed down or moved since my leaving those places and therefore the only real place of reference I can use on my applications is Winn-Dixie. And now they have also seen fit to deny me my unemployment benefits, which makes no sense to me since I have worked for the company for sixteen years, and have never walked off the job before, and only did so this time for a good reason, nor have I hardly missed any days, or asked for any special time off, except for medical reasons. Ive tried appealing the decision several times, but all to no avail.
Not only that, but they never sent me my W2 forms when they were supposed to. They sent my mother her W2 forms, and we have both worked at that store together for the longest time, and weve both lived at the same exact address for the past 23 years. So, in my mind it makes no sense why they couldnt have sent my W2s at the same time they sent hers, or at some point afterwards, unless of course it was out of revenge. The reason why I say that is because right after I was discharged from the company, I came forward with the 20 page document in which I had listed all the times, days, incidents and names of managers involved when my hours where shaved. I then presented that document to, Allison Delaney, the human resources representative. Well, I waited and waited for about a week or more, after I sent it, and eventually she did get back to me and informed me that she had received the forms I sent, and was just waiting on my time sheets to be sent from the warehouse so that she could compare the two and look for any evidence of tampering. But after that initial phone call, she never got back to me again. Not even after I called her a half dozen times and left numerous messages, trying to track her down and find out if she was going to help me or not. I was leaving messages on both her cell phone and her office phone, but I never heard back from her again. And so, because I came forward with that information, I believe that certain people who worked at the main office thought they would get back at me by not sending me my tax forms.
And here is the real kicker to this incident with the tax forms. Right before the forms were due to be sent out, I repeatedly called the human resources office and even though I could not get in touch with anyone there at the time, I left message after message, asking whoever was in control of such things if they would please send my tax forms out early because I needed the money as soon as possible to pay off the outstanding balance I owed on my car, which was like 5 months behind at the time and was in threat of repossession. But, not only did they not send my tax forms on time, they did not send them at all! And the bad part was that I kept promising Carmax, the dealership where I had bought the car that I would send them the money I owed, just as soon as I got my taxes filed and received my money back. Thats how I was able to hold them off for so long. And so, after having waited quite a long time till all the forms were supposed to be mailed out, I finally called the human resources office and again, left numerous messages to find out where my forms were. After about 4 or 5 days of doing that, I was finally able to talk with someone. I asked this person why I had not received my tax forms yet, and she explained to me that all of them had already been sent out and the only way I would not have gotten mine yet, is if the address on them was wrong. I then told her that my mother had already gotten hers, and we both live at the same exact address and have been employed by the same company and worked for the same exact store for many years, so it made no sense to me, I told her, why mine wouldnt have been mailed out to me by then. She then told me that I my only choice was to order a reissue from the companys website, for which I would be charged ten dollars. At that point, I had already been cheated out of so much money by this company, what was ten more dollars going to matter, right? Its as if the company was saying to me, Now that weve got you on the ground, feeling humiliated and stepped on, please allow us to rub some salt into your open wounds. And thats exactly what they did.
And so, because I was not able to get my taxes filed and get the money paid back to Carmax when I told them I would, they came and repossessed our car a short time ago. This means I now have no way of picking up my 68 year old disabled mothers diabetic pills when she needs them, or the pills for her high blood pressure, or the pills for her vascular disease, or the drops for her glaucoma. I now have no way of taking her to the doctor if theres an emergency or if she needs a check-up. But, thats not all. Since my mother and I defaulted on our car lease, when we were unable to pay them any longer, they naturally had to auction off our car, and they did not receive the amount they were asking for. So just recently here Carmax sent us a letter, saying they were turning over our account to a law firm, and if we were not able to pay off the entire balance we still owed on the car which was about $7,000, then a lien would be placed on our trailer, which means if we ever tried to sell it, Carmax would get the money and not us. So, as it turns out, Winn-Dixie is indirectly responsible for us losing our car, and may be the cause of us losing our trailer too, if were not able to find the money to pay off the remaining balance we still owe on our lease.
So, essentially, this company is still harassing me, and still making my life miserable, even though Ive done nothing else to them other than coming forward with the information I had about their illegal activities. And here I was trying to do the right thing and keep it within the company by telling their human resources rep first, and letting her take care of it as some people had told me to. But, that got me nowhere, as doing the right thing usually does nowadays.
And so here it is close to a year later, weve lost our car, we could be losing our trailer next, then well be out on the street and all because of Winn-Dixie. I am telling you people right now, do not have anything to do with this company. They are all corrupt from the top down, and if you think that you can trust anyone in this company, then think again. Please, do not shop here by any means, and do not work here, if you know whats good for you. This company is only good for one thing; getting rich and fat off its employees sufferings. Its true, please take it from someone who knows. These managers are mistreating their employees who in some cases are your friends, family and relatives. But youll never hear that from them or anyone else who works there, no way. Theyll never come forward and blow the whistle on W-D, and risk losing their jobs over it, not the way the economy is now. And the managers all know this. Thats why they know that they can treat their employees anyway they want and get away with it, because right now, there are no other jobs to be found. You see, its going to take people like me and others on this site who no longer work there, to come forward and let people know exactly what kind of company this really is, because theres nothing else they can do to us, other than what theyve already done.
But, Im over it now. Ive talked to a few lawyers about whats happened concerning my hours, and they claimed that I did not possess enough evidence against them to establish a case. Same thing the Department of Wage and Hour told me when I got in touch with them. They said I did not have enough damning evidence to warrant an investigation against them. Its mostly because I did not bother to save the check stubs from when my hours were tampered with, so no one will take my case. They dont want to risk going up against such a huge corporation as Winn-Dixie, for fear of losing the case and screwing up their precious reputations. So you know what? Im done with it to.Just let Winn-Dixie keep on mistreating and ripping off their employees and I guarantee you, one day God and time will catch up to them
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/02/2010 12:10 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/winn-dixie-stores-inc/jacksonville-florida-32225/winn-dixie-stores-inc-stealing-time-from-employees-mistreating-them-unrealistic-expec-609351. 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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