Thursday, August 27, 2009

How It Is, Part II

When I rolled into work Tuesday night, I tore the office apart looking for my write-up, to no avail. The GM was out of the office all day yesterday, so I couldn't see it until this morning. I now have a copy of the document, and I am angry. I pulled out my copy of the new Employee Handbook, and it details a "Progressive Discipline Program". I won't reprint the whole thing here, but it basically outlines a progressive, positive system for identifying and correcting problems.


Issuing a written warning is a serious action taken by the manager only when a previous discussion (commitment to correct) had not been effective or due to the severity of the inappropriate behavior. An employee can be terminated under progressive discipline if he/she has two written warnings and a third one happens within a twelve month period... Hourly employees will be dismissed after 3 written warnings if the disciplinary action is not a critical item.
Okay, then. The "commitment to correct" is a situation where the employee is given a verbal warning, and advised on how to correct the situation before it escalates to a written warning. I have never been given a verbal warning, as such.

The write-up was hand-written onto a pre-printed "Second Warning Notice", but the word "Second" was marked through with a pen and replaced with the word "Final". The Violation is marked Other, with the comment, "Improper dress". Under Action Taken, it reads, "Earrings in both Ears". In the Additional Remarks section it reads, "2nd Warning Jason has been informed this is not allowed and signed the handbook." Underneath is a reiteration of the "final warning" and the notice that "further violations may lead to immediate dismissal without further notice".

To wit, the Employee Handbook does, in fact, say that "For males earrings are not allowed." I asked about this the afternoon the handbooks were handed out. There were a lot of questions that afternoon, because there's a stipulation that female employees can not wear large earrings, and one that specifies no visible tattoos, and another that stipulates that hair must be a color "that is natural to your ethnicity". Examples of all of these were present at the meeting, and we were told by the VP of Operations, that such things would be "grandfathered in" implying that anyone already working there was exempt from such provisions. I asked my supervisor, the front office manager, and she told me not to worry.

There's nothing in the handbook about nail polish, save for the line that "nails should be in a neutral color".

I'm not an attorney, but it seems like I'm being sold something here. I've been called on the carpet for a violation of the Employee Handbook, but it seems like the procedure from said handbook isn't being followed. If I'm reading it right, the correct procedure would have been for the manager to pull me aside and tell me to stop wearing my earrings to work. I wouldn't have liked it, but I would have done it. No written warning necessary. No second or final warnings necessary. Instead, my reading of the handbook is counted as my verbal AND first written warning, and the rest proceeds from there.

I've been doing some reading since Tuesday. LLLLL was nice enough to point out to me the NCTE site, and I had a read through some of their resources. I asked previously about transitioning on the job, and the GM told me that I can't change the way I dress if my ID has a male name on it. It seems that I can't change my ID until I legally change my name and begin living and working 24/7. I think I've been flying solo on this ride too long. I need to knuckle down and find a doctor to talk to, and never mind the expense. I'm already in hock up to my eyeballs, so what's another debt?