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We Discriminate Against People Who Try To Kill Children

, , , , , , | Working | May 19, 2022

My husband was the assistant director of a government childcare facility for children four years old and younger. As such, his responsibilities included looking after the health and safety of the employees and the children in their care as well as determining disciplinary action when employees broke the rules.

One day, a child had been given an item they were known to have a (non-life-threatening) allergy to. Thankfully, it was caught and the child ended up fine, but the incident still needed to be documented so that appropriate action could be taken with the employees involved and so they could identify areas where procedures could be improved to keep it from happening again.

As part of this investigation, my husband interviewed the facility’s cook to get her statement. It was just a checking-the-boxes type of thing since she wasn’t directly involved. Or so he thought.

It turned out that the cook had not been following any of the procedures regarding food allergies BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T BELIEVE THEY WERE REAL. My husband was mortified and, after taking the matter to the equally mortified director, the cook was suspended for a short time. Due to their agency’s policies, that was the most they could do at that point.

During her suspension, my husband went about gathering training documentation that she had signed off on as well as statements from other staff members regarding her ignoring procedures.

I’m not too clear on the timeline as this was years ago, but at some point, the director and my husband sat down with the cook and went over all the information that had been gathered and the reasoning behind why they were extending her suspension. She listened quietly and calmly confirmed that all the statements staff had made were true, as if ignoring procedures designed to keep kids safe was a perfectly normal thing to do, and she fully intended to continue doing so.

At the end, she was asked if she had any questions about the action they were taking.

Cook: “But… there’s nothing positive in this.”

My husband and the director were stunned. The cook grew increasingly upset that, at the meeting regarding her suspension, they discussed only the things she did wrong and nothing she had done right.

Eventually, it was clear that they were going to pursue termination. It ended up in arbitration as, through her union representative, the cook (an older woman) alleged age and sex discrimination specifically against my husband (a middle-aged man) who, I’ll repeat, was the assistant director and couldn’t have terminated or even suspended her without the approval of the director (an older woman). Once that went nowhere, she tried to sue. Strangely, every lawyer she tried to involve somehow never showed up to meetings. Finally, two years after the initial incident, the matter went before a judge, who threw it out.

To this day, anytime there’s a situation where one of us is clearly at fault, we say, “But there’s nothing positive in this!”

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