Mass Transit Employee Bullied at Work
(Clinton, Maryland - USA)
My story takes place in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area at a organization which takes care of the majority of mass transportation. I joined this company in February of 1997 as an Bus Operator. When I came through seeking employment I was sexually harassed by a Bus Training Supervisor. Even in the beginning the managers, supervisors in this company pull their weight on newcomers.
Next, this same supervisor started rumors of me having a nasty attitude while I was in bus training. I knew he liked me but I was not interested. He, obviously, could not take rejection. This was the start of defamation of my character around this company. Once I graduated from training and was sent to my designated bus garage of choice the first thing I encounter was the garage union shop steward making himself known to me and stating, "if you have any problems or concerns come to me" and "if you get any alleged complaints always file a union grievance". I was, repeatedly, victimized by co-workers with unwelcomed sexual verbal messages and unwelcomed sexual body suggestions. (meaning talking dirty to me and throwing kisses at me and trying to walk up on me and throw their arms around me) When they saw how I wasn't the type to be loud in the garage, quit and minded my own business and not hang around in the garage in between shifts I was then beginning to become categorized as too good, stuck up and thinking I'm too pretty for the rest of employees. I even was suggested of being a lesbian because I at one point didn't carry a purse but a wallet in my back pocket for convenience and so I wouldn't get my purse stolen off the bus.
I had a Bus Superintendent constantly beg me to go into management but one day he turned me off from the idea by stating, "I was too pretty to be a bus operator." I found that offensive. I worked as an Bus Operator for 18 months during which I'd received a customer commendation in 1997 first before any alleged customer complaints. The customer spoke highly of myself in how I gave a professional and courteous ride every morning as well as having a beautiful smile that lit his mornings up and how attractive I was. This, obviously, worked against myself and caused me to gain enemies in the company and word traveled fast. I was bored and interested in learning how to be a Station Manager or Train Operator so I bided on a training class and was awarded. I was a Station Manager for 18 months and I had no customer complaints and I was a Train Operator for 8 months and had no customer complaints but encountered an off door incident with my train which caused me to be suspended from anywhere of 7 to 12 days. I grieved it thru my union and lost. I believe because I spoke honestly and truthfully on the Rohr trains which Metro had at that time which was faulty. I, also, had bad experiences with my Rail Superintendent at my second choice Rail Division whom I was told by a Union Business Agent she was attracted to me.
I went thru harassment just about every day just to be picking with me even though they were slick management and knew to stay within their scope like: I'm returning into the rail yard with my train and just as I'm about to get close to my turn-off for the yard my radio in the train cab would go off stating, "train# we need u to stay in service and go to the end of the line", constant attitude from the supervisors down central control on the air with all the operators, when I was out sick and returned I was told I had to state the diagnosis on my doctor's slip and being harassed 30 days after the fact for being late to work as others were do to a draw bridge being up which filed up everyone. Management has 20 days to take any disciplinary action against any employee... 30 days late.
After, being so fed up and no one to reach out to or anyone who was not too scared to challenge management but furthermore, stand up for me and my rights, I've decided to bid back to the bus and I was awarded a bus run. I worked for about 3 1/2 to 4 years where somewhere in between those years I had to write up an employee for threatening me by stating, "he was going to slap the shit out of me." Management covered for him and in the investigation write up it clearly states, "the supervisor could not find either employee at fault" but goes on to say she is referring myself to a training course for how to get along in the workplace. Now, you tell me did I miss something back then or even now with that judgement? I had to write a Street Supervisor up for on the job harassment and sexual harassment. Management falsified documents and made like I used profanity on this supervisor and that I was insubordinate.
Our union found management in many lies and falsifying documents and reports. My case was won in 45 days but I was held out of work for 5 months. Management does things like this to attempt to teach us a lesson. Later, I found out once I had been reinstated that the supervisor who I wrote up was, in fact, involved in a sexual harassment case over at his division. The union rep stated, "because I didn't have any previous documents of sexual harassment on the supervisor it was like I was crying wolf". Another Union Rep. mentioned by stating, "a hit was put out on me by management." How ridiculous is that when he already had a sexual harassment charge on him. This is the case for alot of men in management in this company they all go around sexually harassing the women on the job and the only thing that happens to them is that they are moved to another location through demotion or even promotion until they're able to retire. It's only been one man who has been terminated that I know of for sexual harassment and he was in management and he was in the drug program.
That's another problem in this company. The rumor is that this company has a program with the District and maybe Maryland and Virginia with the local jails to help inmates with lesser charges to get back on their feet once they come out. I'm for a person getting a second chance but it's a way you go about it. These men need special training and some need special attention of therapy. This program has been going on it sounds like for a long time like early 70's so don't you think these men are the ones in management 20 plus years later. This is why its so much inadequacies in this company and group cliques and favouritism along with unfairness.
In closing, to sum everything up, from 1997 to 2007, I had 3 customer commendations to my knowledge but I believe it should be more and they weren't given to me. I had 1 alleged customer complaint for rudeness and 3 to 4 customer complaints for being too early on my route, too late on my route or getting lost on my route. Then I had supervisor citations like wearing the wrong uniform hat, no tie on with a outer-garment and 1 for being on my cell phone while sitting on the bus. So, basically, my record is not anything of great concern of a problem employee or an dangerous employee. Once I venture back down on the rail for the second and final time, I out of nowhere started receiving alleged customer complaints starting in 2008 up to 2011 totalling 8 or 9 alleged complaints which resulted in me being terminated. So what I suppose to have the most complaints in this company? Give me a break. In between that time frame in 2010, I'd written a safety email to the General Manager, Chief of Safety, Top Managers, Union President and Chief of Police which all ignored but the Union President and Chief of Police but that was all fake in their plot to get rid of myself for speaking up and speaking my mind. I even had to write up a transit police officer for harassment and nothing happened to her or she didn't lose her job. An alleged customer complaint got me terminated. I was interviewed and terminated in the same day. I was unable to have union representation. I had 3 transit officers there to escort me off the premises. My union turned their backs on me and did not represent me wisely, honestly and accurately.
I've requested a copy of the audio from the appeal which I know has been tampered with, it's obvious, thats being done and I also requested another appeal which I'm sure I won't get do to the fact, that after submitting a request I received a letter stating, "my request may be denied do to the fact that a appeal is already on file which may be used to go on record". All I'm hearing is excuses, file-ups, mistakes and bribes. This is so unfortunate, of course, for me that an organization can have and does have so much power and authority over an entire metropolitan area but I do understand why and I know how they do because I understand which entity in this area brought mass transit here.
Metro needs to be shut down for however long and reorganized to function safely and properly. Please keep in your prayers as I will do you and everyone else in this world who has to endure jealousy, hatred and malice on their jobs and unfortunately lose there jobs by individuals who are lacking the proper understanding and wisdom. God Bless, you all and do keep in touch via my email. Respectfully!