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Monday, August 03, 2009

No Rehire

I started a job in a warehouse in 2006. I was a model employee, helping other co-workers and not missing work. I got pregnant, and it was a very physical job. I resigned, because there were no openings in an easier department. I had to lift up to 50 lbs. I DID do it up until I was four months pregnant. My supervisors were impressed, and said when I resigned to have my baby, if there was a position open, they would gladly accept me back after I had my baby. So I had my baby, and I was lucky enough to go back to work there. THIS time, though, I was getting harassed more by men than the first time. I was the only woman in the department at the time.

The first time my son's dad worked there, as well, and we were still together. That might be why it wasn't as bad the first time. The second time I wasn't with him, so it was BAD at times. There were nights I would go home crying. So, basically, I let them get to me and I started to not want to go to work. Stupid choice on my part to let it get to me to miss that much work. So, I switched departments when I had a chance, and it was GREAT. No harassment. I wasn't making myself sick about having to go to work. I still got fired because my new supervisor saw that I was over my allotted days off. Everyone else knew, and was willing to let it go, I think, maybe because of the harassment. They knew it was happening. But she saw it and fired me, and not only that, I was listed as a "no-rehire". My question is, there is a different supervisor that would like me to come back and work in his department. It's a different shift than that of the supervisor that fired me, and a totally different department.

I was wondering if this supervisor could overwrite the "no-rehire" if he makes it clear that he wants me to work for him, and that my previous actions resulted from my work environment, and it wouldn't happen again. It was just so bad in that particular department. Like I said, I was VERY happy when I changed departments. It was like a different world from where I came from. I just wanted to know if you could tell me anything...is it possible?


Anything is possible. This, though, is on the low end of possible. But, let's back up.

When you were being harassed, did you officially complain to your manager? Did you officially complain to HR? Now, those who read me frequently know I recommend handling these things on your own if possible. That means when your co-worker says something rude, nasty, sexist (insert your own unpleasant description) that you say directly to him, (or her) "Do not say that in my presence again. I find that offensive." Surprisingly, that solves a whole host of problems.

But, if you've done that and it doesn't stop, you must go to your manager and officially complain. You need to document who said what and when they said it. Things like, "I just feel uncomfortable" don't cut it. "Joe said X on X date. I asked him to not say things like that to me. Later that day he said X again." This is helpful.

All of this documenting can help you, should it come down to a termination.

You acknowledge that you made a big mistake in skipping work. In a situation where harassment is going on, we sometimes want to withdraw, which ends up hurting us more. (As you found out.)

So, now what to do? Well, I assume the manager who wants to hire you knows you have a no rehire status. Ask him if it's possible to be overridden. He'll know better than I will. You can even explain about the harassment you received. Many companies will freak out because firing you looks suspiciously like retaliation, even though you were terminated for missing work. Of course, if you never complained, your case is much weaker.

However, I think you should recognize that it's time to move on. You need to pursue work elsewhere. Yes, it was a great company, great job, great whatever. It's not the only job on the planet. Ask the supervisor who wants you back to serve as a reference for you.

Companies rarely re-hire people who were previously terminated for cause. You may be an exception, but I wouldn't count on it.

3 comments:

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Meansomething said...

EHRL, I enjoy your posts so much. I'm glad you're not so busy learning German and enjoying Swiss chocolate that you don't have time to blog.

After reading this post, I thought that I'd love to see you blog sometime about how to know when it's time to move on from a job. I recognize the question-writer's feeling of attachment to the place she liked working (before it became awful, of course), and as your answer implies, sometimes we get attached to the familiar and have a hard time recognizing that "it's not the only job on the planet." How did you make this decision yourself when you switched jobs?

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