Posted January 22, 2014
He pulled me aside with the greatest concern in his seasoned eyes. He told me “look here son, this company doesn’t like your kind here, so you need to hide, hide, hide son”. This advice I kept to heart after returning from a 30 day suspension of retaliation for standing up for having bipolar disorder 14 years ago.
Since then I’ve been harassed, suspended, and found degrading graffiti on company property about the beast I am. The union doesn’t protect monsters here, but they do shield the company from the government agencies who might help. Monsters like me must lurk and hide in the shadows and learn to assimilate into the work placing to survive here or we find ourselves unemployed.
For 16 years I’ve taken the abuse from fellow peers and hid from the company as best as I could, yes “could”. But a monster can only hide for so long until my time ran out last year. The company pulled me out in front of all my peers and suspended me for 10 days by using false allegations and fictitious assumptions. This is a brilliant scare tactic the company uses to force other employees to work harder. It’s fast, abrupt and inexpensive for the company and the union has no power to stop it also the union protects the company for violating our civic rights.
I can personally tell you how Frankenstein felt by the way my company treats me. That morning I was escorted of the property so I sat in my vehicle for some time feeling like a raped victim. Confusion and denial overwhelmed me then washed away by humiliations and anger. I thought of my family and how this will affect them and my future. I looked in the rear view mirror with shiny blue eyes looking back at me. From a young boy to an adult I’ve been alone with this disability. I come from parents that are very prideful and in denial of my illness. Their solution to fixing my chemical imbalance as I grew up was mentally and physical abusing me with at times my own father straddled me on the bed and rained down punches to my face. Those blue eyes in the mirror gave me the same answer they always have and that is I never quit. Rally the war horse I shall go to battle against a mighty dragon.
First I’ve disproved their false allegations against me but the union won’t push it, they say they have no power. I applied for job accommodations for being Bipolar but my fortune 500 company denied them without proof of hardship. These jobs accommodation that I applied for are given to one of my peers for the last 6 years who has a physical disorder, but not to given to employees with mental disorders. Another job accommodation that I qualified for is offered to a peer who doesn’t have any disability at all and again not to my kind.
The Department of Fair Employment and Housing agree that the suspension was wrong and against my civil rights but I can’t prove it was discriminatory so they can’t handle it. On the job accommodation issues the DFEH are fully looking into it. As for the suspension I have been referred to dozens of governmental agencies and they all say the same thing “I need to talk to my union”. But the union has no clue about the ADA acts or any information how to combat disability issues. So I became pro-active researching more information, building my own case with factual evidence and applying for a steward ship position. The union denied my stewardship because I’m “bipolar” well they said “mental health issue” but all the same. So if the union is discriminating against me for denying me for stewardship because I’m a monster so how can I expect them to defend me against the discrimination from my company?
A year has passed and I fight the good fight. The union and my peers continue to say not to wake the dragon again or this time it won’t be retaliation but unemployment. I’ve made 124 phone calls over the last 9 months to find help for the injustice to me and my kind. No help yet, but maybe it will be call 125 or 126.
I should be on disability some say and others thought dead cause the monster that I am. But I’m not what TVs stereotypical view of my kind is with school shootings and movies betray us as. I’m a good man who would give his shirt off his own back, a father of four and married to an amazing wife. I’ve written two novels in which one is about a comic book hero that Marvel comics offered to buy 25 years ago. I play and couch sports and most importantly, I love God.
To anyone who reads this and has a mental disorder don’t let society dictate who or what you should be. You’re not a Monster or alone out there, we may hide in the shadows but we are no different than anyone else.
Live, Love and Laugh
The company Monster, Mr. Jean