Hispanic professional society & diversity job fairs at NSHP.org

Well it started July 17th, 2007. 8 A.M. The day my life changed. I worked for the same company for 30 years, almost as long as my father had for the government. In my family when you had a job, you kept it, never bring shame to family for losing the job, no matter how tough it gets you make the best of it.

A friend at the time 30 years ago was working in the personal department, for a HMO in Colorado, I had know her family as a child, we all attended the same schools, lived in the same parish.

She said she was looking for truck drives at the company, I had been in Denver for 1 week, and was asked if I like to apply. I jumped for it, I could move out of my sisters home, and save to go to college.
Something I always wanted to do, but no money for that growing up. I still had a younger sister at home.

Over the next thirty years I moved around in the company always moved to something better, more responsibilities and more money. Yes I saved money, received a associated degree in Interior Design, love drafting, the money saved also afforded me a chance to buy a home. I was always looking to better myself in the eyes of my family and the company.

Growing up Latino, male and single from a big catholic family your always looking for acceptance, on the job being brown in a sea of white educated males is just as bad, except there for me. I did everything no one else wanted to do.

Did I get noticed in the company? Yes, I was approached by someone in HR there was a new trend in the big companies to work on Diversity Development, monies were made available to start up staff associations, African American, Latino, Asia and Pacific Islanders, and last of all Gay that had been tried before but failed. Now again being approached by several people in the company they new I was a shaker in the gay community and had been a co-chair for a Latino GLBT group. Another Latino, and myself proceeded. With the company backing us to get this last group up and running. We did it, with the help of three others.

Years afterwards this sole group would receive a National Diversity Award the first given to a GLBT group in the company Nationally even before another in San Francisco, same group different region.

Well now I had not only a great job, loved my diverse company, but had built the confidence to achieve greatness in my eyes and the family.

While all of this was going on I had started a relationship with my Domestic Partner, we've been together now for five years, he also came from a working class catholic Polish family one of ten siblings. We had much in common, save values, and he also had been part of the medical community.
He had lived all over the USA, me I was a typical Latino, stay close to home take care of the family, family is most important. One of the places he had lived I always wanted to visit, I read much about it as a child, and had a school teacher make a comment about “Hawaii, someplace most of us would probably never have the chance to visit” . Ever since that comment I was determined to check this place out.

The first time I was able to spend time in Hawaii was outstanding, not only was it warm, beautiful, but a lot of the people looked like me”BROWN” now growing up in Colorado, if your brown it's a 2nd class thing all the way, in Hawaii people my color are in charge and several thought I was one of them. I decided this is where I wanted to live. In the years to follow based on my move I proceeded with doing everything I had to do for a transfer there, the final step a job interview, in Honolulu for the same company different region.

Long story short I was interviewed by the only white recruiter for the company in Honolulu one single white person in a sea of brown.

I had set-up an appointment, had a Sr.VP in HR in Colorado a friend of my contact the Sr. VP in HR in Honolulu a friend of his for introduction, toting all the paperwork I'd needed for the job interview, letter of recommendations from Business Managers, MOA's, Doctor's, Superior's, and friend's. During the interview he made it quite known to me I was not welcome, was it because I was Mexican, gay, or overweight, all of this had been questioned while in his office Halloween 2006.

When I brought all this to the attention of the CEO, and the Sr. VP of Hr in Oakland, I was told there would be a investigation, I was told I had lied about everything. For the next year everything about me had been turned around, my exceptional performance evaluations were now the worst in the company, everything I did in the company was under scrutiny, I was told I was no longer qualified to do my job, the same one I had done for 14 years, friends had turned their backs on me, my allies gone, I was told by HR that I needed to find a new job or be fired. The day before I was to be terminatied I was given a job as a pharamacy clerk, the team I was assigned to work with later I found out wasmade up of brown nosers,back stabbers, and company pets, I was accused of not working,being lasy, late, and heres a good one pulling a knife on a co-worker( later in a union meeting I was told, all mexicans carry knifes with them don't they?) Then I was approached by this same person in the company(HR) and was told the company wanted to settle with me, if I dropped my discrimination suit against them, they would give me $5000.00 and I could leave the company, because I was no longer happy with my job.

This all went on till July 17th 2008 8A.M. That morning I received my final settlement, a benefit package for my domestic partner and myself for the rest of our lives, and I had to promise I never presue employment with them again. My union advised me to take it, and I did. Leading up to this point my health took its toll, several rides to the hospital, one stroke, several chest pains, nitro tabs, sleepless nites, vomiting daily, and my diabetic es out of control, my doctor was waiting for me to kill over just from the stress alone.

It is now October 2008 I'm still unable to find work, and my life has been ruined, I lost my home in Denver,sold just about everything we owned to live, heres something tough for me, I applied for food stamps, but was denied to much in my savings, (enough to last us for the next 4 months), food stamps turned down same reason, back in Denver I stood in line to receive food from a food banks 3 different places in a month to put food in my partner, and the dogs, we ate lots of rice,beans and veggies that had rotten spots on them you just cut around them and make the best of it, something I had growing up to make ends meet, its funny how things in life come full circle.

Someone will read this and say well put your domestic partner to work, he's on full time disability, no its not AIDS other reason. We're not considered married we all know why. So no benefits for couples.

I moved to Hawaii hoping to start a new life, in the 10 weeks we've been here I've learned a lot, about bad landlords, government red tap, the job market, it isn't any better in Hawaii. I've not told my family about this “the shame thing”, I hope to find a job soon, I've been looking everyday, have had two interviews for the government but haven't heard anything.

As long as my dogs have dog food, my partner has food, and we both have money to buy our meds, I'm sure life will get better. I hope this info helps someone out there, that when you work for a big business,retain all your paperwork between you and the company(I did), always save money(looking at the economy now) and you have no friends at work only co-workers.

Would I have changed anything that has happened to me along this path, probably not, why, its a lesson to be learned(now I sound like my mother and father), I wouldn't be writing as much as I have(my journals), and I always see the silver in the lining, I just hope it arrives before the next 4 months, I guess I should be looking for a nice beach spot to live on for a while.

If what I wrote here can help someone more power to you, if you read this and are thinking, what has happen here was brought on by me, then you don't belong on this site. And if someone reads this and knows of someone looking for help in there company here on the Big Island, I'd love to send you a resume, for your consideration. I don't need much to live on anymore we get by on next to nothing something my parents would be proud of. Thanks for letting me vent, maybe I'll stop being so emotional every time I think of what has happen to me, and I'm sure others.

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Hi John,

Hang in there buddy. I am going through the same situation at the moment. I know what its like have been through it. Keep in touch....

SMILE, KEEP YOUR HEAD UP and BE PROUD. MY PARTNER AND I KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE.
I had a similar experience and after more than 3 years I am still suffering from the emotional injury. It is a serious workplace situation called mobbing or bullying. It is recognized in Europe and some countries it is illegal. I am working with the State Coordinator of Workplace Bullying Institute. We are working on legislation because the existing discrimination laws don't work.

I suggest that NSHP get involved because mobbing is growing and it's the hardest working, above average intelligent, creative people that become targets. It doesn't matter how much work you do or how many commendations you receive, everything can change without warning.

Check out these websites:
"Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace" -- http://www.mobbing-usa.com/

Workplace Bullying Institute -- http://bullyinginstitute.org/

Warning: Mobbing is Legal, Work with Caution -- http://www.counselingoutfitters.com/Housker.htm

Indiana Supreme Court Weighs in on Bullying -- http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/contributors.asp?ID=1176&I...
Thanks Dina, it is tough, right now I have enough to live on for the next four months, providing nothing strange comes up, I now know I made a mistake to run so far away, at the time it seem like a geeat idea, now with the job market being in the toilet, I worry how much more I'm going to loose. Keep in touch if u like, and remember co-workers only no friends, when your at work, or better yet keep your friends close and your eminies closer, my partner say's that all the time now, don't ever let it get as bad as it has for me, thoughts of killing myself,really wanting to die, I'll tell u I may not be apart of this company anymore, but they still have to provide me with healthcare, for the rest of our lifes, unemployment for another 13 weeks, and patients still come in and ask for me. So they will never be rid of me, kind of like that sticker that you just can't get out of uner your skin,LOL! Hey take care and thanks for your thoughts!
Candy Iused the defense of mobbing at my EEOC case and still the company won, we found out later after everything was done the company had someone working for them at EEOC, we proved it but nothing came of it, the person resigned and moved on, if you ever have to file a EEOC complaint, do your homework, once your assigned a agent find out as much as you can about his person, working in the medical field afforded me acsess to medical records(wrong yes I know) but thats how we found out this person was married to someone who worked in HR in my former company, just luck I guess, same with here in Hawaii after filing a EEOC complaint, the agent's wife was a lawyer who worked for the HMO as part of their team, and found all this via the internet, pic's, but by then it was all over to late, and now to do anything about it, would be costly, no money, I beleive in karma! Thanks for the info.
Have you contacted anyone at the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) or the NCLR (National Council of La Raza)? There are very capable people there that might be able to help. God Bless and hang in there, don't give up!

http://www.aclu.org/
http://www.nclr.org/
Thanks for your information. I approached everyone possible, because its considered employment dispute, lots of lawyers said discrimination is the hardest to prove, it was better to accept the offer and leave. I'll tell you I did my homework on this matter , I asked for future salary, and future retirement, because I was planning on working for another 15 years, I had already put in 30, with exceptional remarks, I was the model employee, but because I questioned the hiring process in Hawaii, and the remarks by this Anglo recruiter, I was a troublemaker, charges were trumped up on me, the area I work in last was run by Anglo's, and the team I was assigned to was made up of Anglo's(Women), when I questioned this I had a chip on my shoulder, A) because I was a gay man and hated women, is what I was told, B.) I had a chip on my shoulder because I was Mexican, and I wasn't about to take orders from Anglo's,C.) because I was trying to rip the company off because I was tired of my job, and was lazy, and was looking for an easy way out! In regards to the last one why would I put 30 years in and then want to bail on the company. Every lawyer stated we'd get a settlement of $50,000. be taxed on it at 41 % like the settlement that I was given, I walk away after 30 years, with $17,000. after taxes, and health care for my domestic partner and myself. To fight it now, I 'd have to have the $25, 000.00 they gave me, some of my retirement about $20,000, and a retainer fee, and if I won I wouldn't want my old job back, anyway, and take the chance of loosing my medical benefits for my partner and myself, The La Raza in Denver was being run by a fellow employee who also worked for this HMO, as a conflict of interest she' have to pass this info on to the company, so once again I'd be screwed, just like EEOC in Colorado, Hawaii, and the National Labor Board, I did a press release regarding this problem going on, and only one Latino News paper picked it up, out of Florida, the HMO did a stellar job of making my story go away. So thanks for all you help and thoughts, all I want now is a job, I want to work again and be able to take care of my partner, myself and the two dogs.
John,
I am sorry this happened to you. It is bad when your life turns against you when you have worked so hard all your life.

The only thing you can do to get past having your life derailed is to start fresh and find the joy in new things. Unfortunately no amount of money can make you feel better or give you a sense of accomplishment. Try listening to some Joel Osteen CDs. They will make you feel better. They helped me a little.

Some very bad things have happened to me. I know the EEOC is bad. Getting a lawyer and suing is better, but we only know that through hindsight. So every day I wake up and tell myself, ”This is the first day of the rest of my life. Get busy moving forward and making progress.”.

The next thing I can tell you is to find security in your working and social groups. There’s no guarantee these new friends won’t turn on your someday, but at least they’ll share your disposition.

There is something to be said for the phrase, ”Take it easy”. Sometimes you can, and sometimes you can’t. I’ve never been able to take it easy, so I know how you might feel.

I wish you well in the future.

Sincerely,
Gabriel
Thanks much for the reply!

Everyday is a struggle, I'm told everyday I need to get over it. And someday soon!

For me being Latino is ruff "work hard and your company will keep you around" I believe this,

After all this went down, my allies, friends and my brothers some of these people, turned their backs on me, After all that had happened, some of them received promotions, still have there jobs, it's funny how your own kind, turn their backs on you.

For years I fought a good fight for "brown people", so when we left the company we'd also leave a mark for others coming up behind us, I've never forgotten my roots.

And I'm not saying you have or anyone one this site.

I will tell you as a group, and a culture we need to do more.

The company I worked for had a mission, they targeted POC (people of color) we laid the foundation, build the bridges and led them into our neighborhoods. They trotted us out as show ponies, I was one of four who received the highest award given by my former company based on Diversity, and when we've done our job, they move us on, that's what happened to me.

They made sure I was out of sight for a year moved me out of my department, demoted me, I was now a blue collar worker, I had my hands in chemicals everyday doing grunt work, I didn't struggle to go to school while working to have this happen to me. By doing this the patients, and staff would forget about me and they did!

Example;

The group I co-chaired a GLBT staff Association, planned a party for the holidays I was left out of the loop, no emails, and no phone calls at work or at home for planning it I found out about it because I saw a bf of a fellow co-worker at the gym who asked if my partner and I were going to attend that evening, it would be great to catch up on what you've been up to.

We arrived an hour into the party, you would have thought we walk in with no clothes on dead silence, whispers, and questions under breath "I heard you were fired, I thought you quit, and the topper being asked to leave because I was no longer welcome in the group or the company". Leave this party! By the host

So when people tell me to "take it easy" NEVER! Never give up the fight, maybe I'm not there in sight, and maybe people are long over me, but I truly believe in KRAMA!!!!!!!!!! Everyone who had a hand in this will pay in some way.

And a lot of you are right I need to get over this before it kills me, it has already soured me, and has stressed my relationship. Thanks for the replies!!!
That is a serious case of defamation. Be proud for all you have accomplished and I know you will find something that will be satisfying for you...whether its a government job or not. :) Good Luck!
Thanks for the comment, well I've hit bottom, I looked at a non-skilled job, Janitor, here in Hilo, Hi. My partner said new because he saw it on the Gov. site I'm listed with, he said he will try to quit being such a hard ass, and let me morn my loss, he said when he realized I felt that little of myself, he new I was edging towards the end. And he's right, I need to move on, really its been 15 months. I settled with the company, and its over.

I have a suggestion for your CS issues, I taught with a Medical Office Administrator CS classes this clinic was in the toilet, we took it to 98% satisfaction in 3 months, how we did it, we made a video real people our customers complaining about how they were made to fill, then in the same video, the employee's and their idea of customer service, lots of our staff were quite surprised with the out come, customers I discovered had were angry nit at us most of the time ,it was because of poor management on their part, not enough time for a trip to the clinic, heard what they wanted to hear, not what was being told, and didn't always ask question, not prepared. Our staff did handouts with pictures,direct numbers with the understanding no messages to the doc's other number for that or would be transferred, also given small note pads provided by our vendors to write things down to ask the doc's during exams, the delayed times, if the next pt was there and ready to go we took them, this made the patient more responsible for leaving early, calling, and being respectful of their providers, and kudos's given to employees who made a difference, with had these things called fishies, they were CS sheet filled out and given to the employee when they were praised by someone, 5 of them gave you a silver card 5 silver cards gave you a movie card, gas card, some item usually valued at $25. dollars a pop, let me tell you things changed fast, three months, also we took field trips some of us to area work sites to see how there employee handled CS issues, good luck, if you want to discuss more email me, I have lots of time on my hands right now.

John
Hi my name is Sara Bajger I do speak Spanish I live in Pembroke Pines Florida. Email me at sbajger@comcast.net I might be able to help you get back on your feet if you let me. Please have faith in God he will not let you down you just need to ask him what you need and give it him. Tell him you cannot do anymore to please guide you and help you. He will not let you down I know that I was on the same place you were in and then I brought a Franchise that has helped me and my business for under 1000 dollars where can you do that now a days. I have 14 businesses and 3500 partner store
Please email me I want to help you and show you how

Sara
Sara,
Thanks for the offer, but right now, we are going to hang on to what money we have, thanks again for the suggestion's.

John

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