Penny's problems began when she returned to work from medical leave for a work-related injury. She was desk clerk night auditor at a Best Western, but while she was away new management came in. "My new supervisor, Vikki, told me that I was no longer required for the graveyard shift," says Penny. "She used 'security reasons' as an excuse, but I had worked graveyard for four years and never had an issue. I had dealt with all kinds of problems, such as drunks in the parking lot. Why did a man suddenly have to replace me?
"Instead I was placed on day shift and lost 8 hours a week, sometimes more. As of last July 2010, I worked anywhere from 24 to 32 hours per week, which is a big reduction in my paycheck.
"Then I had to train some new employees who were getting paid more than me! I know that Vikki had a personal vendetta against me, but I didn't give her any cause. Finally Vikki called me into her office and said she no longer needed me. I didn't bother to ask why—I just took my check and walked out, devastated. I was a damn good employee and didn't see it coming. I came into work whenever I was needed; I was loyal and hard working.
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"I should get an answer from the California labor board any day now. I feel confident that we will come to a settlement because these are my basic rights. If I don't get any compensation, my next step will be to contact a California labor law attorney.
"Meanwhile, I'm trying to collect unemployment but Vikki gave them the wrong date of termination so that's held up my claim. I just wish I had the opportunity to defend myself; I wish I had the chance to rectify my situation. If they don't settle, I guess I will have that chance, with an attorney's help. Of course it will be great to get compensated for the hours lost, but I hope that Best Western learns from this and doesn't treat another employee unfairly."