"This new manager really had it in for me - we had a real personality clash," says Linda H. "Being new on the job, you would think he wanted input, but that wasn't the case. He constantly gave heavier work to me and other women and kept on scheduling me to work on Saturdays. I had a regular route for 15 years but he wrote up three warning letters against me: this meant that I couldn't bid on a route so I had to be a swing driver.
A 'swing driver' means that you cover other courier's vacations and don't have a set route but company policy says swing drivers don't work on Saturdays. He didn't like me quoting FedEx policy but I told him that policy is the only thing that protects me. Being a swing driver was very stressful and this frustrating, to say the least.
After he wrote me up a few times for insignificant reasons, I was eventually fired because I had used a few cups of windshield washer fluid from work in my personal car; FedEx fired me for theft, after all those years.
I collected unemployment insurance for four months - they even fought me on that. But FedEx has a 3-step guaranteed fair treatment (GFT). The first step comprised the first three levels of management and they wouldn't change it - they were the guys that fired me in the first place. The second step deals with the vice-president. He reinstated me because of my tenure, with a warning letter that stays in my file for a year. I had one month pay docked.
During the four months that I was unemployed, I filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commissioner of Iowa. We went through the process and they conducted an investigation. The board ruled 'probable cause that I was justified in my grievance' which means that when you get a probable cause, it is a big deal. Next, the state has a conciliator and he tried to work with FedEx and me to come up with a happy medium.
I got a ruling from the state and FedEx has offered me back pay. But I want more than that - being fired has been horrible on me and my family. Due to 18 months of stress from this incident and this manager, having to watch my back all the time and getting fired, I became very sick. I was diagnosed with MS - I know this didn't cause MS but I think it was the trigger. I was off work sick for six weeks just three months after I was reinstated.
FedEx won't budge so the state has given me a right to sue. I want to make sure my future medical bills will be covered. I plan to retire in five years - you have to be 55 to keep up medical insurance and I hope my health doesn't fail me before then.
When I filed the complaint with the State, six people gave statements on my behalf and the state said this was rare. These people figured if it happened to me, it could happen to them."