Saturday, December 12, 2009

Injustice for all?

As mentioned in my previous post I am pregnant (13 weeks, 2 days) and HAD a job at the drop in centre.

Well, hold onto your butt because I've got a helluva story to tell!

As you may be aware, there is a little bit of a flu going around. They call it "SWINE FLU!!!!!!!" People. Young people. People with chronic health conditions. And pregnant women are dying from this flu. My mother works in a medical office and on Oct. 29 she heard that 3 pregnant women had died in the past week from swine flu and that another was fighting for her life in ICU. This, as you can imagine, caused her some distress when she thought of her only daughter who has diabetes and a bun in the oven working in a homeless shelter in downtown Calgary. So, to protect her only chick she came to the Drop In Centre (hereinafter referred to as "the DI") and asked me (well, actually TOLD me) that I was getting an H1N1 shot now if not sooner. I took her upstairs with me to tell my boss that I was leaving early to get my H1N1 shot. In the course of our conversation my mother mentioned my pregnancy. My boss said it was fine for me to go and get my shot and I told her that I'd see her on Monday.

That night I stood in line for 4 hours with Chris and got my H1N1 shot. My luck being what it is I spiked a fever and felt sick the very next morning. I went to the doctor and was informed I had (probably) H1N1. I phoned my boss and informed her of the situation and told her I'd be back in 10 to 14 days. She said, fine, I asked if i needed a doctor's note, she said not to bother as she could tell from my voice that I was sick.

On November 12 I was feeling human again and returned to work to take my CPR course. After my course I was called into the hiring manager's office (his name is Steve). He informed me that "we" had a "couple of problems". The first problem was that I'm pregnant and they just weren't sure I could fulfill my duties (let me remind you that I am a secretary!) The second problem was my mom. They were "disturbed" by the way she "stormed" into the DI.

Now, Steve not only works for the DI, he also works for Officejobs. I asked Steve if, since they were firing me, I could return to officejobs and temp. He informed me that Officejobs was no longer "comfortable" having me on their books because my mother's behaviour was too "erratic" and they couldn't feel safe that she wouldn't "charge into a client's office" to come get me in the future. He said that he's been in HR (human resources) for 15 years and had never seen a 28 year old woman be "dragged out of work by her mother".

Needless to say, I've filed a human rights complaint. Not only can they not fire me for being pregnant (which they did) they can't fire me for something a family member did (which they did). So, I suppose I'll just have to wait and see how things go.

I haven't received my final paycheque yet (even though they fired me over a month ago). I did however receive my ROE (record of employment) from officejobs. I was amused (but not surprised) to see that under my reason for termination they put "insufficient work". What a bunch of cowards. They don't even have the integrity and honesty to say why they fired me. Although, thinking about it, is there a governmental code for "Sarah's mom scares me"?

I'm not so mad at the DI for firing me (I wasn't really enjoying it there. I've found that before I worked there I used to be very sympathetic to homeless people but working there soured me. I am very angry at officejobs for taking me off their books. They've essentially denied me the opportunity for future employment. I've been hobbled.

So, Chris and I are back to surviving (there's really no other word for it) on just his wages. I really have no idea how we'll survive once the baby arrives. Knowing my luck I won't be eligible for EI (despite having paid into it since age 14).

I'll keep you posted with, hopefully, more optimistic posts.

Happy Chanukah to my Jewish friends.


DaveG said...


I found you on Pharyngula. That Travelling Creation Museum guy had American landmarks, not Canadian ones, in his display. So I'm curious, as an ignorant American: what cool geographical stuff would draw one to Canada - ie, what are your Grand Canyons, your Mount Rushmores, your Yellowstones?


Rean House said...

We don't have any Mount Rushmores or Grand Canyons I'm afraid. We've got the Rocky Mountains and some great resort towns (Banff is pretty but has become WAY too touristy, Jasper is nice but very secluded). My favourite place to go (and I go nearly every year as we live close by) is the Tyrell Museum, there are also some neat geographical landmarks near there, such as hoodoos and whatnot.

All of Canada is beautiful. The west coast is like something out of a fairy tale (the Queen Charlotte Islands are a must), the rockies, of course are awesome. The prairies are neat if you're into wheat. I haven't spent much time in the east (although there are the great lakes of course) and I've never been to the Maritimes. I've heard Newfoundland/Labrador are neat.

Sorry I can't be much help (and sorry for taking a million years to reply!