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Yes, even though illegal, age discrimination is not only alive and well today, but appears to be flourishing in this tragic time of economic oblivion. And sadly, I am one of its many victims.
I was working for a certain company that is very well known back in SoCal, for about 16 years. I was in the IT department, and had been there with this company, and in that department, longer than maybe only 3 other fellow employees. I was actually the original, and ONLY ONE, that did what I was doing, when hired into "Telecom" as it was called back then. Of course as time went by, more were hired, departments absorbed into each other and new ones created, and the entire IT department became so extremely bloated, that they had departments so specialized, that you could almost say that they could have had a department in charge of one key each, to press just their one key, on the keyboard. I was in the desktop support department as a computer tech.
My last boss, a woman hired from outside the company, came in with guns blazing. She decided to make her mark, she was going to change everything, but sadly all to the worst! She was evil incarnate, and held personal grudges like you would not believe! I, and a few others, even had to go to HR a few times about her - little did we know that the lady in HR that we THOUGHT we were talking to confidentially, was her best friend! And so thus anything we said, went directly to our boss. And of course, she made our lives 100% miserable!!!!! And she had no people skills at all, that is for certain! One time, when we were discussing a manager from a different department that we supported, and was an extremely difficult user, she came right out and said to me "I hate OLD TIMERS, they are so hard to get rid of"!!!!!!!! Little did I realize at that time, they I was included in that remark!!!! And though I had been at this company, and in this dept for more years than nearly anyone else, all her hand picked "buddies" that she had hired from her old company, all were made SENIOR desktop techs! I became a SENIOR CITIZEN, yet I was never made a senior tech! And I have proof that she went out of her way to make my life a living hell = it is only because I have a higher threshold for pain and stress, that I survived utill . . . . . . .
One day in 2006, my group was told we had a special meeting to attend. When all of us got there and were seated, the director gave us a speech that at first was so awesome - how even though we were extremely understaffed, we got every job thrown at us completed, on time, and with perfection. She said "thank you very much for your solid, hard work, and I would just like to let you know we are outsourcing your entire department (over 40 of us in 3 different states)"! It was so quiet for a few moments, you could hear everyone's jaw bones crack as our jaws dropped open! We were all totally in shock - and that shock sent ripples throughout the entire IT division for weeks to come! No one ever expected OUR department to be ever outsourced! We kept the gears moving throughout the entire company, WE WERE NEEDED. And yet again, needless to say, those of who were her "favorites", were spared! And one in particular, who she had brought in from her old company, even though many went to HR complaining about him, some were even ready to get PHYSICAL and beat him to a pulp(!!!!), and even with the executive office barring him from EVER going to work on their equipment ever again, and he was just about to be forced into termination - she saved him and kept HIM ON!!!!!!!!
Well, we were given 90 days to find another job within the company, as well as first shot at getting hired by the outsource company. Needless to say, the few of us who had to go to HR about our boss, and ALL over 45 years old, waited and waited to get called in by the outsource company, waiting for just about the full 90 days! Just about all the others got picked, except for us!!!!!! And when one of the younger ones did not accept the job with them (he was hired into the engineering dept), they hired the last of us 3 - and the YOUNGER of us 3 (45), and the one who had not gone to HR about her! We were BLACKLISTED from getting hired by the outsource company by that boss, and we were also both OVER 50 YEARS OLD as well!!!!! Needless to say, every position I applied for in my company was a dead end as well - even though I PASSED a very hard exam for one particular dept, and RIFF'ed employees were supposed to be at the top of the list to be hired, I did not get it! I wonder why???? Well, I later found out . . . . . because one dept did eventually hire me after I was gone for 90 days. And later, when they TOO were putting pressure on me to leave, they mentioned how my prior boss had made "comments"!!!!!
So sadly, after 18 years of loyal service to a company that I USED TO BELIEVE IN (if you knew which one, you would know why we ALL had believed in it), I lost my job when I returned from an LOA that went past the time my job would be held open for me. And now, we turn to today . . . . . . .
First off, I would like to ask if it is ok to start mentioning company names that are doing age discrimination? Perhaps, if we make a list of these companies, either AARP or Obama could do something about it? Or perhaps we could just plain shame them into submission? Because if I don't get a job soon, I WILL be forced to live in a cardboard box in some cold alleyway!!!!!!! And I am not the only one that seems to have hit (an age) brick wall!!!!!
Back in July or August of 2008, I was happy to get a reply from my resume sent out. It was for a desktop support position at a well known meat packing company. I had to drive over 40 minutes to get there too! But once I met the hiring manager and he seen I was OLDER, after only a few minutes of talking about the job and my skills, he steering the conversation to my hobby of car racing. And even though I had WASTED hours of my time and GAS in traveling to this interview, they never even sent me a reply back if I got the job or not!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Last month, I had a prelimenary phone interview with a company that overseas "home and condo" associations. The manager called from Michigan. He was very impressed with my skills and my answers to ALL of his technical questions, even remarked how I was a "breath of fresh air compared to all the "paper tigers" that have applied for his job because I had the TRUE working experience, while they only had a piece of paper"! A few days later I was notified that I was ONE OF ONLY FIVE chosen to come in to their local office for a tele-conference "face to face" interview. When I came, once again, the tech questions lasted only a short while, and the conversation turned to "other" topics! The very next day I received an E-Mail saying I was NOT chosen! So, as I had read on some job interview websites, I wrote this manager a nice professionally written thenk you note (for seeing me), and asked politely for tips on what might have been my weakness that made me not chosen, so as to fix my mistakes for any new job interviews in the future. HE NEVER ANSWERED BACK, even after the 2nd E-Mail to him!!!!! I would just LOVE to see who they DID hire over me - most likely YOUNGER, much younger!!!!!!!
I have tried working with 2 fairly large, well known headhunter agencies as well. And since I first contacted them back in June 2008, the most I got was ONLY TWO JOB OFFERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And both were temp contracts for a few months, and OVER $10 LESS than what I needed to make to pay my bills!!!!!!! Come on now folks, in ALL THOSE MONTHS they only had TWO JOB OFFERS FOR ME???? They were only tossing me the SCRAPS that the YOUNGER folks did not want.
I am now just about at my wits end here folks. Who can I contact (in Texas) that could maybe help me out with this? Who can investigate if I am being discriminated against because of my age? As I don't have a job (and no unemployment pay coming in either since September 2008 - another long story and waiting on my 2nd appeal to the TWC), I don't have any spare money to pay for a lawyer. But I NEED HELP
I was employed by the State of New York as a Special Education Teacher, working for one of the larger state agencies, originally hired in 2005 (at age 55) to teach secondary level students in a residential setting. I had two very successful years with very favorable reviews. I came to this State agency with over 12 years of previous teaching experience, at the secondary level. At the end of my second year my immediate supervisor retired, and a significantly younger female (30) with only Elementary Teaching Certification, was all but placed in the job, even though the position should have been open for anyone in the State Agency to submit an application for this position. It is also interesting to note that this position had been a 1/2 time position and taught the other half. The new younger female was immediately made a full time position, even though the number of "residents" declined to almost half of the maximum population.
In July 2007, I noted a position on the State Agencies "Intra-Net" web mail advertising for a Special Education Teacher. I asked the Facility Director what that was all about, he replied that he did not know. I was told by the other teacher, that she had applied for the Special Education position and was awarded that position. She was also an Elementary Certified Teacher and also about 30 years young. Then beginning early in September 2007, I was directed by the Facility Director and Education Coordinator to immediately change my teaching style and teaching methodology, even though it had been highly successful. I was also directed to "walk about the classroom" as I had normally taught from a seated position, because of medical conditions with my knees, made walking and standing difficult. I showed them notes from my doctor to no avail.
This pattern of "bullying & harassment" continued through the year, constantly being monitored and constantly "written up". It became so difficult my family doctor referred me to a counselor for help. I also had been scheduled for gastric by-pass surgery for weight loss as I was also very obese, the surgery scheduled for March 2008. Three weeks prior to surgery, the facility director, told me he had serious personal issues with me having surgery scheduled during the school year, even though both other teachers during my first two years had both take extended time off for surgery, with out any apparent issues.
I returned in early April, and the harassment continued, even though I was still recovering from major surgery. They pushed me to my limit and I had a verbal confrontation with my supervisor. I went to my family doctor, who immediately took me out of work until further notice. The following day I was ORDERED back to the facility, and threatened that if I was even one minute early, the NY State Police would be there and I would be arrested! I told them I was on medical leave, and he told me it did not matter and that he would not accept my doctors note and placed me on administrative leave, insisting I call in at a specific time, daily! Two weeks later I received a certified letter in the mail saying I was being terminated "on probation".
I filed and age and disability discrimination complaint with The New York State Division of Human Rights, and hired an attorney to represent me. Also my PEF Union Representative secured my Personnel File and found 3 documents dated 2 weeks prior to my "last day" on the job. They were addressing (1) Confirmation of my Appointment (2 3/4 years after I had been employed); (2) Minimum Probationary Period (3) Maximum Probationary Period. At NO TIME did I ever receive any information about being on probation, even my original Appointment Letter, dated October 2005, states NOTHING about Probation.
In October 2008, NY Division of Human Rights found in favor of the State Agency, saying there was "no probable" cause. My union PEF Filed a complaint with New York Division of Civil Service saying that I was illegally terminated because I was never notified of a "Probationary Period". They also ruled in favor of the Agency stating there was "significant evidence" I had been notified, but could not back that up. My Union did secure a copy of my "work history" report and there are numerous "penciled" notes which to me seem once again highly suspicious and questionable.
I wrote to the Commissioner, who passed my letter onto a lower level manager, and responded that they will not consider my questions and that the case is "closed" based on the findings of NY Division of Human Rights. My letter was addressing, Terms of Probation, Who Decides Probationary Periods, and Why did 3 documents suspiciously appear in my personnel file, it had NOTHING to do with the Age and Disability Discrimination Complaint.
It is no wonder New York State is in the turmoil they are in. They continue to "enable" bad managers, and employ and promote under qualified staff, lacking credentials and experience. I am absolutely convinced that this is not only a case of Age and Disability Discrimination, but a case of one New York State Agency looking out for another New York State Agency. I have attempted to contact other lawyers but they want a significant retainer and am unable to employ them.
I hired a disability lawyer who has helped me secure SSDI, and has been working to help me secure long term disability insurance from my former union. He even had to write directly to the commissioner because they facility was being unwilling to provide information, and has subsequently delayed me getting that extra income. If any one else has had a similar situation and had it resolved favorably, I would like to hear about it. Or if anyone wants to form a "coalition" to fight this type of work place abuse and discrimination, I also would like to initiate or participate.