Writing You Up For When You Were Down

, , , , | Working | January 3, 2019

(After I wreck and roll my car down a hill, I spend a few weeks in the hospital for various injuries. In that time, my store manager is promoted and a new manager takes her place. On my first day back, the store manager calls me to the office over the store’s loudspeaker. I knock on the office door, where I can clearly see her playing Candy Crush on her phone. I wait a moment, then knock again. She glares at me through the window and whips open the door.)

Store Manager: “Yes?”

Me: “Uh, hi. I’m [My Name], the [department manager]. You wanted to see me?”

Store Manager: “Oh, you’re the one who’s been off.”

Me: “Yeah, I rolled my car and—“

Store Manager: “You’ve missed several shifts. Weeks of your responsibilities are backed up.”

Me: “I was in the hospital but I filed for a medical leave of absence with HR.”

Store Manager: “I saw.”

Me: “Okay… so… I’ll get started on my work then?”

Store Manager: “You left us in a deep hole.”

Me: “Right, sorry. Again, I rolled my car and I was in the hospital.”

Store Manager: “We had to pick up your slack while you were off.”

Me: “I’m not sure I would call being stuck in a hospital bed for several weeks being ‘off.’ and I thought you said all my work was backed up.”

Store Manager: “I did.”

Me: “Well, are we backed up or did people pick up my ‘slack’?”

Store Manager: “I don’t appreciate sarcasm. I’ll give you a pass this time, but if you plan on leaving us like that again, you’ll need to notify us.”

Me: “A pass? For being in the hospital?”

Store Manager: “I’ll be keeping an eye on you. Go get started on your work.”

(She turns away from me and I assume that is the end of the conversation. I leave the office, only to be called back over the loudspeaker about ten minutes later. I knock again and wait for her to finish what she is doing on the computer before opening the door.)

Me: “You called?”

Store Manager: “Have a seat.” *turns the computer screen toward me* “I’m writing you up. This is a formal reprimand I’ll need you to sign to acknowledge this conversation.”

Me: “Why?”

Store Manager: “You have a very unprofessional attitude.”

Me: “Uh, sorry? When?”

Store Manager: “How about the entire conversation we just had? Or not coming to work for [weeks] and expecting to just waltz back into your old job?”

Me: “I was on medical leave because I wrecked my car.”

Store Manager: “And that mindset right there — everyone should cater to you.”

Me: “We should probably call HR.”

Store Manager: “No need. You can just sign this paper acknowledging that we talked about your attitude.”

Me: “No.”

Store Manager: “Excuse me?”

Me: “No, I’m not signing anything. I wrecked my car, I was in the hospital, and I went through the proper channels. I did nothing wrong.”

Store Manager: “You know Pennsylvania is an at-will employment state, right? I can fire you at any time and right now, it looks like we’re headed that way.”

Me: “Yes, I know. I also know I can also file a lawsuit against you and [Company] for firing me after going on a medical leave that was previously approved by our HR department. And yes, I have every email and voicemail saved.”

Store Manager: *glares* “Get out of my office.”

(She never did write me up for my “attitude,” but she did keep a very close eye on me for several months. When she stopped showing up and our previous store manager returned, it came out that the other store manager was skimming from the registers and blaming cashiers for the loss, forcing them to accept reprimands or be fired.)

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