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Monday, November 8, 2010

The official complaint!

Just got my copy, going to write it out but with parts redacted.

Dear Sir/Madam:

Re: Jeannie-Marie Anne Stewart v. [redacted]
Our File: [redacted]
The above-noted person has filed the enclosed complaint with our office. The substance of the complaint is as follows:

Jeannie-Marie Anne Stewart is a person with a disability that requires accommodations. She had been employed since September 11, 2010 as a server by the [redacted] in North Battleford , which is owned and operated by [redacted] Saskatchewan Ltd. She said that on September 10, 2010 she went to this restaurant to apply for a job and that she was hired on the spot by the person whom she believed to be the owner. She said that she did not believe the owner noticed during this interview that one of her arms had been amputated at the elbow. She said that she started work the next day and that part way into her shift the owner noticed her arm. Ms. Stewart said that he expressed negativity when he asked her why she had not told him. She said that she responded that she wanted a chance to prove that she could do the job. Ms. Stewart believes her abilities were being tested throughout the remaining of her shift. She said that she succeeded in her duties. The owner told her at the end of her shift that she did a good job and he also agreed that he would not have hired her had he known about her arm. Ms. Stewart said that she was not scheduled for any further shifts and when she asked why, on or about September 14, 2010 the owner told her that "we have decided to try out other people because of your arm". Ms. Stewart believes that her employer discriminated against her on the basis of her disability by failing to reasonably accommodate her and by refusing to continue to employ her, contrary to Section 16 of The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code.

Please note we have made no determination on these allegations..

We would appreciate if you would now respond to the complaint. Your written response will be used for investigation purposes and may be shared with the complainant during the course of an investigation. I am enclosing the form we provide for this purpose. In particular, it would be helpful if you could send us the following:

  • A detailed response to the complaint.
  • A detailed explanation of why Ms. Stewart's employment was terminated.
  • A list of the duties required for the position of server.
  • A list of all employees working at the [redacted] on September 11, 2010 with contact information, if available.
  • A copy of Ms. Stewart's Record Of Employment.
  • A list of all accommodations provided to Ms. Stewart in this workplace.
  • Copies of all company policies touching on the issue of accommodating employees with disabilities.
  • Any other documents that might be relevant to this complaint.

Our next course of action will be to pass the file to a mediator/facilitator to see if the parties are open to discussing a resolution to the complaint. If that fails the matter will be investigated.

We look forward to your prompt response. May we hear from you within the next two weeks? Thank you.

Intake Consultant

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Friday, November 5, 2010

New job! And other stuff you need to know (maybe)

Yes! It is true! I have a job! Dispatching nights at the local taxi company. I. Love. It. I love the hours because I still get to hang with my kids all day (hang out, not hang to the roof as tempting as that seems some days), I wear what I want, full benifits too. And so far the night drivers are awesome. One can never have too many iced caps from Tim Hortons and they ensure I get them. Only downside so far, that place I hate, you know the one I'm going after for discrimination? Yeah, they use us for deliveries all the time. Lucky for me the calls are short.

Speaking of which, they were supposed to be served this week and I am to get a copy. Nothing yet *sigh* I know, I know, I see you shiver with..... Anticipation. I want updates too, believe me!

Sad news of the last few weeks, Lincoln's grandma passed away. However, she was 82 and kicked ass her whole life! She had a good ride. Also, I love his family at funerals, sounds odd but hear me out. They cry obviously but they also celebrate that persons life and the get togethers are always great. Even when the reason to get together sucks, the times are good. Lincoln's brother stayed here for a few days which was awesome. I know Lincoln misses him and my kids loved having uncle schnicky around.

Hmmmm I think that is all for now...
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Monday, October 4, 2010

Anyone wanna buy some makeup?

Seriously. I sell Mary Kay....

We got hit with some crappy news this morning and need like 8 grand real fast.... We thought we were on the TIPS program for our property taxes (paid with the mortgage). We thought wrong. The city never sent us anything regarding arrears, no demands for payment etc. All of a sudden my husband noticed the mortgage had disappeared from his online banking, he called the bank and was given a number to call. He finally talked to them this morning to hear "wait for the letter from the lawyer". Great, thats exactly what we need. We cannot afford to be taken to court..... I'm done. I am so tired of the universe crapping on me. Really, it is never going to end it seems.

Please, help me sell 3000 eyeshadows, that should cover it.....

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Why should you hire me?

If you found my blog through my cyber begging effort, welcome :)

If you are a potential employer wondering why you should give me a shot, let me tell you....

  • I'm dependable, very rarely do I call in sick to work, never once have I called in on a weekend with the "flu". I have to be near death (or have an absolute family emergency) before I'll call in.
  • I'm self directed, but I also work well with others. Alone or on a team, I do what needs to be done.
  • I learn quickly, I'm not afraid to ask questions about something I don't understand. I would sooner ask than assume and make an error.
  • I'm friendly.
  • I'm resourceful
  • I love working with the public.
  • I care about the job I do.

That is the short list. I have multiple references available.

Ain't too proud to (cyber) beg!

I was laid off after Movie Gallery closed and have not found successful employment since. I did find a job at a restaurant but was fired for having one arm, even after I proved I could handle the job. Our current finances are a mess and without decent employment we have no hope in hades of fixing our situation. I would like something above minimum wage however, I am willing to try almost anything at the moment. I have sent out my resume numerous times via as well as "pounding the pavement" so to speak. I type 50+ words per minute, have office experience as well as plenty of retail experience. Maybe you do not need a full-time office employee but need some freelance office type jobs done? Anything will help me right now. Our financial situation has gotten pretty severe (we could lose our house, 2 small children) Please, if there is anything you think I might be able to do for you email me and I can send my resume. I am not too proud to beg for a job....

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Job hunt continues...

As some of you know, I work as a casual slot attendant at the Gold Eagle Casino here in North Battleford. I love it, however I do not get many hours. Many of the Food and Beverage servers on the floor told me I should apply in that dept because their casuals can get tons of hours, needless to say once a posting for the dept went up I applied. I had my interview last week and it went well. Last night I was on a quick break and my phone rang. I recognized the number as the casino and rightly assumed it was the F&B manager in regards to the job. I told her I was upstairs and she asked if I could pop by her office for a few minutes.

Excitedly I beelined to her office and sat down to chat. In the end, I declined the job. First off, the position was not for the gaming floor but for the GRC where functions are held. One of the perks of course is getting to check out the acts/bands etc that perform (such as Norm MacDonald last night) but one of the major drawbacks is the hours. Working a shift is dependent on functions. This time of year is busier (lots of Christmas functions etc) and the summer has quite a few wedding receptions, however the rest of the year can be slow. I would be moving from one dept with few hrs to another one with few hrs so not really gaining anything by it.

The second reason has to do with casino politics and red tape. I cannot really get into much detail because if it gets back to Lincoln I will be killed :) Basically, they see him advancing in that dept big time down the road. If we work in the same dept, neither of us can advance past the occasional supervisor shift. He is first in line for the apprenticeship (Red Seal) program, he would have started this semester but the ball was dropped by the old chef etc etc... You don't spend 60 K for someone to take the program and leave them as a line cook forever, if ya know what I mean. So down the road, I would have to move to another dept anyways (most likely, almost definitely). I may as well stay where I am and hope a full-time spot opens up.....

I was given a choice though which is nice, and though Lincoln and I discussed the potential conflict of interest, we never thought about it to the extent that Cori explained....

I left the chat feeling pretty bittersweet, yes I am kinda bummed but I am so proud of my husband. Through the casino's help he can and will pursue his dream of the Red Seal and he can take that anywhere later if he chooses to move on.....

Totally unrelated to most of this post, I was hit on by Norm MacDonald last night, if you consider him massaging my neck while I led him across the casino to the ATM being hit on.... He was a pretty nice guy though and really tall!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Stand up for what you believe, even if you're the only one standing.

My title comes from a poster I saw when I picked my son up from school today. Lately, I have worried that standing up would cause future employers to maybe think "This one might cause trouble if we don't hire her" etc... Valid point, if I were to go after every employer who denied me a job. I don't and I won't unless of course there is blatant discrimination towards me. I have been denied several jobs in my lifetime, some I know are because I'm not the right fit (usually sensed by me during the interview), some are because someone else is better qualified, and some are because of discrimination. Only 3 employers have been so disturbingly forthright though and of those 3 only 1 is going to see a consequence. Many times I have sensed the discrimination without it being spoken and I would never consider filing a complaint because though I feel it, I cannot prove it.

I knew full well what I would face by making my complaint so public (I have heard that at least half of North Battleford knows) yet I chose to accept the consequences (being labeled a troublemaker possibly) because it was and is the right thing to do. I would rather be seen as a pot stirrer who does something about discrimination as opposed to a silent sheep who cries to herself and ignores the problem.

This has not been easy for me, far from it. I am a roller coaster of emotions at any given time. One minute I'm ok, the next I'm angry, the next I'm self-pitying (which is the worst!). I am lucky to have wonderful support from friends and strangers alike. However, not everyone has been so supportive. The shock of my life came from someone in my own family, who actually was considerate enough to not say anything about the issue until I kinda pushed her opinion out of her. Initially I took her lack of response as not giving a crap about me, when in reality it was because she did not want to argue with me. She is of the opinion that disabled people cannot possibly work the same jobs as non disabled people (for the most part, especially restaurant jobs). What upset me the most is her insinuation that I was in the wrong for not advertising the fact I have one hand during the interview and that the way the employer handled it was right. Don't tell me that by even applying I was setting myself up for failure! Really? So what does she (or anyone who agrees with her for that matter) think I should do in life? Do you realize the limits you place on someone by saying that? Do you realize how badly you hurt someone by saying that?

And please, do not compare my 31 years missing an arm with your few weeks/months that you had to be one handed for whatever reason. Since birth I have been learning how to live one handed in a two handed world. It is such a different experience to injure yourself and learn to be one handed for awhile when all you know is two handedness from living with one handedness every single day of your life forever! Everytime I meet someone with a broken arm or what have you I hear "I don't know how you do this one handed all the time" well, you just answered yourself, all the time is the key. I know most people do not mean to be rude etc when they say that sort of thing and usually it is meant as a compliment, sadly it was recently used to insult me further.

So, to those of you who think I "shouldn't" apply in a restaurant (or any other job for that matter), or "shouldn't" take this as far as I can, maybe you "shouldn't" be so quick to judge. Maybe you SHOULD open your mind, learn something new, and stop assuming you know what my abilities are or aren't.....

My original intent for this post kind of derailed, obviously my conversation with that family member is affecting me greater then I let on at the time.... I doubt that person will see this and even if she does well I can only hope she understands a little bit more. If she is mad, I guess that is too bad. Be mad, because you made me feel an inch tall....

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Untitled (because I can't think of a good one)

Went for a job interview on Wednesday. Food and Beverage dept at the Gold Eagle Casino. I'm hoping the fact I am an internal applicant helps me out. I love my current position in slots but I need more hours. I would like to be able to just work at the casino instead of trying to juggle 2 job schedules, along with the show I'm doing with the Battleford Community Players (more on that later). I'm grateful I got an interview seems as they already know about my arm and chose to interview me anyways. We all know that legally they cannot deny me one based on that but they certainly could have based on my lack of experience in that particular area. I'm trying to stay positive without getting my hopes up too high. I'll know for sure by Wednesday, the waiting is killing me. I'm still looking at other job postings but there really is not much that I have not already applied for.... I need a job, the bills are getting paid but it is leaving us without much else....

As for my human rights complaint I have no new news there, no idea what the process will be.... All I know is it has me incredibly stressed out. Google has not proved helpful in finding information on how long these things take or in how they turn out. I'm also questioning if it is really worth it, will anything really change? I won't know unless I try, but part of me wants to try to forget it and move on. I know I would regret not doing anything though. I hope society can come to a place where nobody needs to feel the things I have felt these last couple weeks. I feel a tidal wave of emotions every time I start to think about it. Not thinking about it is almost impossible.

As for the show, well I have an incredibly small part (2 lines) but I am script supervisor which requires me to attend every rehearsal. The show is called "Always Wear Your Muumuu In A Vegas Firestorm" written by Wendy Lockman from Swift Current. Funny as all hell, 30 bucks gets you the show and dinner. It is probably the only thing not stressing me out right now.....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You know you are in trouble, so you try to get out of it...

By telling the reporter you fired me over a math mistake on a take out order. A mistake due to your not great calculator. A mistake that was what 50 cents? Yet at the end of that night you did not mention it, no instead you said I had done a good job. Nice try, in case you forgot I had a witness that night, and she is more than willing to stand up for me!
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Saturday, September 18, 2010

So the process has begun...

I faxed my complaint to the human rights commission yesterday... Will call Monday to find out if I need to mail it as well...

Spoke to a friend of mine who used to be a lawyer, is now a politician, he said talking to the media is ok as long as I tell the truth. Been doing that all along...

I found out yesterday that the other server who witnessed the owners rant on Saturday (she also stood up for me at the time) apparently walked out of her job after I got canned. I'm hoping to contact her to thank her.

I feel bad that she gave up her job for me but also very grateful for her show of support!

Job interview on Wednesday at the casino, food and beverage department. I really hope I get it. I need it badly. Between getting laid off and the multiple delays on my EI claim because of Movie Gallery sending out an updated ROE after they paid me a 78.00 bonus and now having been "fired" no matter the reason my claim is on hold for another 28 days. I should have finally seen a payment on Tuesday but because I was honest I am punished yet again. The computers don't care why I was fired, just that I was so of course an investigation needs to be done. When all is said and done I'm sure it won't affect my benefits but the wait is hitting me hard financially.

So I think I might push for damages, after all this is not only affecting what I would have made full time plus tips but it is also affecting my EI claim...

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Friday, September 17, 2010


So this whole thing with Dragon Palace (that's right, name and shame right there) has really messed me up financially. Because I was honest and reported my earnings and firing to EI I now have to fill out a form stating why I was fired. And this also means another delay... I. Am. Going. To. Snap!

I really, really, really cannot afford another delay...

In other news, a reporter from my local paper is calling me on Monday!
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Just need to vent...

This whole thing has me feeling ill. Genuinely sick to my stomach. I can't stop thinking about it either. This is 2010 for crying out loud! Why is society still so ignorant? Why are disabled people still fighting for rights? Why is the LGBT community still fighting for rights? Why are minorities still fighting for rights?

Wake up!

Right now I don't know if I'm more angry over what happened to me (31 years of teasing and discrimination culminating in a drop kick to the face so to speak) or if I'm just sad for society in general...

This really has been a life long battle for me. In kindergarten I rode the handi-bus and was in a special ed class simply because I had one arm. I did not need the special resources because in all other aspects I was normal. My spot in the class would have been better used for a child who needed those supports.

My peers often excluded me or teased me. A few even beat me up.

In job interviews I have seen the look on an employers face once they noticed, I have heard the tone changed. I have been promptly thanked for coming, and never called back. Now, I'm not saying every employer who has opted not to hire me has done so because of my arm. But I know there were several, either because they were brave (stupid?) enough to tell me so, or because I could sense it in the interview.

I type a minimum of 50 words per minute one handed, I am a pretty loyal employee, I do what is asked and expected. If I'm not sure I can do a task, I at least try and if needed find a way to adapt if needed. Very rarely do I say "I can't do that because of my arm". In fact, it is so rare I think I have only said it once and meant it. It is changing the smibs in a slot machine. My reluctance has to do with the removal of a rather heavy piece of glass usually mounted on top of a slot, heck I'm sure it worries my 2 handed co-workers some days.

I'm getting many suggestions to go the route of the Human Rights Commission, and though I know this is exactly the type of case that they deal with, I'm leaning towards the legal lawsuit route. More of a public spanking. The HRC route gets the employer in a big pile of dung, but it is not very public. I want people to know, I want the next disabled person in my situation to have the inspration to do the same when it happens to them. To not be afraid of being labled a trouble maker because they stood up for themselves. I should have done this a long, long, time ago...

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Discrimination hurts...

Well, the events from last night make my last post somewhat irrelevant.. Not entirely though as it gives background. I no longer need to make the stay or go decision, it was made for me.

I went in to "work" last night to check the schedule. I was not on it, though someone was whited out... Me? Maybe. I asked the owner what was up, the other server had told me the schedule had been made on Monday so I knew it was not due to the updated one not being done.

The response I got? "we have decided to try out other people because of your arm"

Yup, even though I proved my abilities, was told I did a good job, I still lost the job because I have one arm!

At the moment, I am refraining from Naming and Shameing because I plan to contact a lawyer. I have already spoken to a contact at CBC as well as the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.

I'm hurt, I'm angry, I am a tidal wave of emotion. You might be inclined to say "it is only a job, you will find another" and you are correct. However, it runs deeper than that. I have let other employers treat me the same way and I'm tired of it. I need to take this as far as I can, I need to do it for me and for the 18 year old girl I once was who was told her arm was not esthetically pleasing. I need to do it for the child born today missing a limb. I need to do it.

As much as I want to take the sue their pants off route I'm doubtful I can afford it. Anyone know a good pro-bono lawyer in SK? I have been looking for a job since June when we doing out Movie Gallery was closing.

I never intended for this blog to become an outlet to advocate for amputees, lately though I'm definitely considering it. At least in part. This is a my life blog and I am an amputee which is my life...
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*edited because I swear like a sailor and um that might not help me here....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Should I stay or should I go?

On Friday I went to a local Chinese restaurant to apply for an advertised server position. I ended up getting interviewed on the spot. I told the owner that I have never worked in a restaurant before and he was ok with that. What I did not tell him, and he did not notice, was the fact I'm an amputee. My left arm was amputated below the elbow at birth. Now, I did not consciously try to hide it, though I know I do it subconsciously.... It was cold, I had a coat on, I digress. I was hired and started yesterday. I was wearing a short sleeved shirt and I saw the exact moment he noticed on his face. A half hour later he came out front and flipped his lid because I had not told him. I told him that my "disability" had been an impediment in the past and that I felt I deserved a chance to prove myself. I told him I did not want to be automatically written off just because. I know I can do the job. The place is 90% buffet, so generally not going to be carrying 12 plates of appy's out at once. He then of course was sending one of the other girls out to test my abilities (switching out food on the steam table etc). I nailed it all. I do anticipate difficulty with the giant pots of soup but really I think that can be worked around.

At the end of the night I went to talk to him about the whole thing. I asked him flat out if he would have hired me knowing about the arm. He said no (rather sheepishly at that). I told him that is why I do not introduce myself as Jeannie the one armed girl... He would not have given me the chance to prove myself. Once he was stuck though he realized that I did a good job. He even said so...

The thing is, knowing he would not have hired me based purely on my lack of an arm makes me kinda unsure about sticking around. Am I always going to have to prove myself?

Was I really terribly dishonest in not saying anything at the start? In all honesty I'm scared to. During a job interview for a clothing store once, my interviewer noticed my prosthetic (don't wear one now), her face dropped, and she said "I'm sorry, esthetics are very important here and your arm is not esthetically pleasing. I cannot hire you". I was floored, I was hurt, and I was insulted. In an attitude typical of an 18 year old I shot back a rather nasty retort about her face and esthetics... I have never forgotten that incident, and every time I apply for a job it is in my mind...

So, do I stick around and hope that I'm not constantly watched for a fuck up that can be attributed to my "disability" or do I keep looking for something where I'm hopefully not judged based on someone elses opinion on what they think I can or cannot do?

For what it is worth, customer feedback to me was phenomenal!
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Formula companies offering breastfeeding advice is like Peg Perego offering babywearing tips...

... Only, much, much, worse!

It came to my attention yesterday via Phd in parenting that Similac and teamed up to offer "breastfeeding" tips, then the next day it was discovered that WebMD has done the same with Gerber (Nestle). I can just imagine the new mom who knows next to nothing about nursing but wants to give it a go being up late with a fussy baby and googling breastfeeding issues and *bam* finds the webmd or babble page..... clicks the link, reads, and then decides to call the "Lactation Consultants" (most definitely not board certified) and next thing you know, she is sending hubby to 7-11 to pick up a can of good start (or to get it from the cupboard, because if she did any baby shopping chances are she has 4 nestle diaper bags chock full of good start)..... I won't go into it too much here as there are a few other blogs that go into more detail.... but WTF? Really? I know formula companies are shady but this is low. What is really an upset is the fact that if every mom from now on nursed thier babies making the need for formula practically obsolete, neither one of those companies would really suffer. I mean Nestle manufactures everything it seems..... They make piles of money off chocolate, water, etc etc why can't they just leave nursing moms alone?

When my son was born I had about 4 nestle diaper bags (one was sent to my parents house, 2 came to my house, I got one via welcome wagon), all of them full of full size formula samples. the samples, i threw out and I'm glad i had the smarts to do so because the first 6 weeks of nursing were hell (my son was growing very well though, that was what kept me motivated) and had of I kept those samples (and spoke to one of the Nestle "Lactation Consultants" I hate to think what might of happened at 3 AM......

It is insulting, almost like the formula companies believe a nursing mother is too tired (or stupid?) to believe anything other than they offer breastfeeding advice out of the goodness of their cold, black hearts. And hey, if you are struggling, well their advice to you will undoubtedly be "well Mrs. Smith, did you know our crap in a can is as good as breastmilk?" UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bissell Little Green and Oxy Clean = AWESOMENESS!

We have a 6 piece microfiber sectional, 2 kids, a dog and 2 cats. The sectional is a light beige colour so as you can imagine it gets real gross looking rather fast. Yesterday I went out and bought the Bissell Little Green deep cleaner and I'm in love! I added Oxy Clean to the pet stain solution and I'm pretty impressed with the results. I think I need to order the turbo brush though for a real deep clean. I also used it to clean my sons mattress which we were ready to toss because after several accidents it smelled pretty rank. Not anymore!
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Mister Steamy....

Sounds kinda adult film like..... anyways, it is one of those "as seen on TV" products. I don't see them on TV as I told Sasktel to take their cable and stick it.....I saw this particular product at wal-mart yesterday and decided to give it a try. I don't own an iron (I did and i only used it for crafts) and the little fabric steamer i have does not seem to cut it in terms of wrinkle removal.... i'm terrible at pulling my clothes out of the dryer right away so i'm running mister steamy on a load of already dry clothes (one of it's uses according to the instructions).... i'll let you know if you should keep your 20 bucks or not....

Monday, August 2, 2010

When going to a liquidation sale, please refrain from being a troglodyte...

There are signs everywhere explaining the sale. Please do not be like the 15 people before you asking what the prices are. Especially if the sale happens to be in a video store, if you are able to read movie titles and the synopsis, then you are capable of reading a damn sign!

Final sale... Means just that! No you cannot exchange it or get a refund. We told you that before you bought it. No, asking 3 different people on 3 different days will not get you a different answer. "well can't you just..." NO NO NO and NO! What part of that is unclear?

Please please please do not carry on for 10 minutes about how bad it sucks that the store is closing. We know it sucks. Where will you shop now? Hmmmm where will we work now?

If we tell you we don't have it, we don't have it. Asking 3 of us to check will not make it magically appear.