All the News that's Fit to Print

Okay, there's lots of news because I've been busy not blogging, so I'll try to catch you up.

1. I may have a lawsuit on my hands. About a month and a half ago, I started working for a very large and well-known company as a Bike Assembler. (Not really my area of expertise, but it was a job.) On Monday, I finally found out what happens to all the bikes that get returned to the store by customers because they are used, dirty, and usually broken. We clean them off, fix them up, and sell them. As brand-new bikes. At full price, giving no indication that they are not, in fact, brand-new bikes. Now, I'm all for recycling, and I think selling refurbished second-hand bikes is a good idea. But I think they should be sold as second-hand bikes, at a discounted price! I felt it was unethical to sell used bikes as new bikes. After a bit of research on my lunch break, I was also pretty sure it was illegal. (Ch.17, Section 46, Sub-section 6) So upon my return to work, I talked to my boss about it. I told him I was uncomfortable with rebuilding these bikes and selling them as new, and I suggested he look into the legalities of it. I also suggested that we sell the bikes as used bikes. I'm sure there a plenty of people who would be happy to pay a little less for a gently used bike in good condition. So he told me he'd talk with his boss about it.

About 20 minutes later, he comes back and tells me we need to talk about my job performance. He claims that I am unable to perform the essential duties of my job, since I cannot fill the bike rack (a procedure requiring me to operate heavy machinery for which I am not licensed, and lift 35-lb. bicycles over my head, repeatedly.) I informed him that I was not licensed to operate the machinery, and also that my immediate supervisor had told me never to load the bike rack (because I'm not strong enough to do it), and that loading said rack is not an essential duty, according to my job description. (It is important to note that I am the only female bike assembler this store has ever had.) He said "Well, now it's a problem." I countered with a request for reasonable accomodation to perform these duties. After less than 30 seconds of consideration, this request was denied. I was offered an alternative part-time (I was working full-time) position as a cashier. I declined this position. Then my boss said, "So are you quitting, or am I firing you?"

So I was cohersed into voluntary termination due to either gender discrimination or unwillingness to participate in unethical business practices. I have a meeting with my legal advisor next Thursday - I think it'll be a good one.

2. I found out that I may be able to have my master's degree by this time next year! Woot!