For a number of reasons, my work environment has become particularly stressful, to the point where it has visibly impacted my well-being. Do I quit, or stay and defend myself?
posted by Ashen to Work & Money (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a (female, 23-year-old) supervisor in a city pharmaceutical retail chain.
1) Scheduling: In my year of working at this store, I can count the number of requested days off on one hand. I always give 2-weeks' advanced notice, although all of my notices end up trashed or otherwise missing. I end up having to cancel doctor's visits, pest exterminations...etc. When my SO and I planned a short Valentine's day trip, I gave several advanced written and oral notices as early as January 30th; when I asked why I was scheduled to work through that weekend despite giving notice, he shrugged and said "I gave myself off on that day." I note bitterly that my female associates have had multiple confrontations with him about their shifts, because he frequently ignores their posted class schedules or advanced notices. This does not happen with male employees. The store manager also schedules me to open when he becomes aware of a snowstorm, and has frequently forced me to switch with him if the schedule was already finalized. He does this despite knowing that I lack transportation, cabs refuse to run that early in snowstorms (or charge more than I can afford), and have managed to injure my back (from falling on ice) every single time I had to open.
2) Gender Bias: The store manager has demonstrated gender biases, and acts on them. He frequently refers to women as "dramatic," "hysterical" and "drama-queens;" in a recent confrontation with him, he lamented the fact that there weren't more male employees. He frequently keeps male employees close to him and gives them assignments. This has directly impacted my ability to manage, because they only take instructions from him - and he's given them assignments, by text message while he's at home, that directly contradict the needs of my shift. Multiple associates, including one male associate, have privately informed me that one male associate in particular is supposed to "watch" me and the female assistant manager while the store manager is absent. Those that have the store manager's favor have been known to do the following: show up 2-3 hours late without calling to give notice, appear in the store while heavily intoxicated (the store manager shrugged it off because "he wasn't on the clock, so it doesn't matter"), take unsanctioned breaks without notifying the assistant manager or myself, and take phone calls while ringing up customers or while in aisles. The assistant manager, the new supervisor and I have all repeatedly brought this up, but nothing has changed. I requested to be shown how to write employees up - which I supposedly had the ability to do - but he refused, and simply told me to say "I'll tell [the store manager]."
3) Racial Bias: The store manager has, on numerous occasions, been nasty and unyielding with Latino/a customers, to the point where several customer complaints were lodged against him. He frequently expresses distrust towards Black customers, and is not anywhere near as conciliatory towards them as he is with white customers in the same scenarios. Frequent customers of color usually ask for me personally when they need to settle issues with purchases, because the store manager has been known to snatch receipts, grumble, etc.
4) Additional Workplace Drama (you're welcome to just skip to the bottom at this point): During the last snowstorm here in NJ (during which I opened and closed the store), each of my associates nearly called out, deciding ultimately to come in as a personal favor. The store was dead, so I chose not to be strict about the dress code. And to my peril: the Loss Prevention head chose that day to tap into our security cameras and watch me. She called and chastised me, and then sent an email longer than our phone conversation to the store manager, district manager, and HR. I have since been singled out for misconduct. More recently, I received an email accusing me of misconduct for not opening her emails. Conversations with the assistant manager and new shift supervisor indicate that I am the only one currently under scrutiny - despite the fact that I am the ONLY member of management who is thorough in their paperwork, and consistently leaves notes and documentation of issues.
5) Insult over Injury: I recently injured myself on my way to work, and was rushed to the hospital. The store manager texted me shortly after: "what time r u supposed to be in????????" and I had someone else in the ER (because it was a hand injury) type my response. To which he said: "just an excuse to be late." When I was discharged, I gave him the doctor's note excusing me from work for several days, but not before he demanded that I clock in. The only reason he backed off was because of the blood still splattered on my work pants. When I reminded him the next day of the ER note and offered to help find someone to compensate for my absence, he replied with "let's do this. you come in at 4 [instead of 1pm], you [do a bunch of tasks not possible at that point because my hand was still messed up]." When I firmly asserted that it would be inappropriate to go against the note, he did not respond. But when I came back on Saturday, my ER note was gone, not anywhere in the office or my personnel file, and my hours for this current week had been slashed by 10. He also scheduled me for this past Sunday, which due to the tasks of that day I have NEVER been scheduled for without four or more days' advanced notice, and also scheduled me for a day that I had requested off, repeatedly, starting in the last week of January.
Everyone has told me not to quit, but I'm shaking even in writing all of this out with more I haven't mentioned. I started taking Clonazepam in October to deal with working at my particular store, and even my primary doctor recommended that I just leave that job and find another. More recently, the dosage of Clonazepam I'm taking isn't as effective; I've started having panic attacks at work, I'm rapidly losing chunks of my hair, and find it difficult to focus even when at home. But I can't afford to quit: the store manager tends to cut hours as a form of punishment when he's irritated with people, and not working a consistent 40-hour week has put me behind on rent and utilities. If I try to file for unemployment, the store manager will probably fight my claim.
Do I take that risk and quit, or file a report with HR and see if the fallout actually changes things?