I worked for a Fortune 500 company, one of the top hotel brands in the nation. Once I informed management of my pregnancy they began harassing me. Harassing me by means of giving me more strenuous job duties, repeatedly calling me in their offices for private meetings, trying to force me into signing healthcare waivers, issuing me documentation, upping the department duties, stealing and altering my wages, and intimidating me in front of my coworkers.
Upon learning of my wages being altered I emailed a formal complaint to corporate, in return I was forced into a meeting with the general manager and director of human resources only to be belittled. Subsequently, I was fired for theft of property. They said I stole a soda from a mandatory meeting 30 days earlier and fired me. I desperately tried to defend myself and to prove my innocence but they would not listen to reason. They wanted me gone.
I never imagined that in the year 2013, a pregnant woman could be labeled a thief with no regard and fired from her employment. I am not a thief! I would never steal a can soda. My only mistake was trying to stand up for myself. I often wonder If I had just kept quiet and rolled with the flow, how much longer would they have let me work? I was three and half months pregnant when they fired me. I was pregnant with my third child and unemployed.
I was so stressed out. I tried to find a happy place and to look ahead, but the stress of bills and uncertainty overwhelmed me. My blood pressure began to rise. I delivered my baby via emergency c-section ten weeks early. After delivery I still struggled with my health. It has been a long road but months have passed and I am finally able to address my wrongful termination.
Last week I attended a mediation hearing with the hotel company. The mediation process was a joke and an insult to my being. They obviously had no true desire to mediate with me. Now, the next step is Arbitration. I was the epitome of what that company stands for, and their tradition of integrity failed me. I did not experience a fair and ethical workplace as the company pledges for all employees. When my circumstances changed they got rid of me as if I was scum.
I am alone going up against a corporate giant. But I am more than a case number, I am a human being. I foolishly hoped that I could resolve things on my own with this company, but it is clear that I need representation. I am reaching out to anyone who has resources or knowledge. I desperately need assistance. I don't know where to go or how to begin. Whatever the outcome, I just want to be able to proudly look my daughters in the eyes and I want my dignity back. I feel so ashamed and embarrassed that this happened to me.
This arbitration process is merely a game for this top hotel brand but for me, it's my life. How do I go on?