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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 34735
Experience:  Employment Law Expert
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I quit my job at the Home Depot on May 1, 2013 after being,

Customer Question

I quit my job at the Home Depot on May 1, 2013 after being, what I feel is, discriminated against several times since transferring to the Sioux Falls store in November 2008.

I worked at the Special Services desk at my first store, but was transferred into the lead generator position. It was understandable because there were no vacant spots tat special services. When a spot did become available, I was interviewed for the job. I did not get the job, but I stayed as the lead generator. It is a ridiculous position with no leads to generate, so without me being aware I was the weekend greeter. I wasn't told I wasn’t allowed to leave the front doors until after about a month of me sitting in the front and greeting because I had nothing to do. Never did I know that it was my job now. I was being nice and friendly. The store manager came by me one day, drew an X on the ground, and told me to stay on that X.I reported the incident to the HR people and the X was scrubbed off the floor but I was still told to stay put. After putting up with that for about a year I asked to be a cashier, it was an easy way out. After being limited to running the self checkouts, I asked the store manager if I could move to a department. It was common to start as a cashier and be moved to a department, most people were moved within their first year of being at the store. I asked the store manager numerous times and he always gave me the same answer, he was trying to find something. He never did and was eventually promoted out of the store.

When the new store manager started at our store, I went into her office to let her now I wanted on the sales floor and that the previous manager was working on it. I was told she would look into it and possibly the garden department in the spring. That didn’t happen.

In the first part of 2012, I was going through some awful depression and had incident with a coworker. She told me I needed to do my job and I was very unstable and I lost it. I swore at her in front of customers and called her names I shouldn’t have. I was written up and started on medication for my depression.

A short while after that I was in a car accident. I was without my van, so I had to rely on other people to drive me to and from work. I asked to be the weekday greeter and have a set schedule. I made it a lot easier to line up rides. After I got my van back from the body shop, they kept me on that schedule and made me cashier again.

In the fall of 2012 they opened a slot for a part time head cashier. Being a head cashier requires you to either take money out or put money into the registers. I was unable to get to the registers, the space to get behind them wasn’t wide enough for my wheelchair to go through. I did not apply for the position because even though I was the most qualified, I knew they wouldn't give me the position because I was unable to get to the cash drawers. To my surprise I was asked to interview anyhow, but of course wasn’t offered the position. I think they asked me to interview to make it seem like they were being fair.

I thought of having a set schedule was their way of not putting me in department. I was content and dropped it. Until they decided to end my set schedule. I wrote on my personal facebook page that I was burnt out at work and I thought it was unfair that they wouldn’t move me. Uniformity was misinterpreted by some of coworkers and they told the manager and I was called back to her office the next day. She said the reason they hadn’t put me in a department was because my customer service is inconsistent. She rarely saw me working, but because my name was rarely on our customer satisfaction survey. I had to explain that at the self checkouts, your name doesn’t appear on the receipt, like it does on the other registers that I couldn’t use due to inadequate room for my chair to get to. After the store manager, who was completely off on my customer service, the district HR person met with me and told me I could have either my set schedule or they could put me in a department. I chose the set schedule.

And finally, the straw that broke the camels back. I was limited to running self check, or occasionally when outside garden was open, I would work on the register pout there. I loved being out there, I was knowledgeable about the products, and I was very helpful to our customers out there. I had been out there pretty much everyday it was open in the spring of 2012. Until all of a sudden they decided they needed someone who could water the plants and help with projects, which by the way is not the cashiers job. All of a sudden I was no longer allowed to work one of two places I was capable of. I have several text messages between our supervisor and I about this and how I wasn’t going to be going pout there. I had been caught using my cell phone to check my bank account previously this year, and I didn’t touched my phone out there after that.

Do I havbe a discrimination case?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

Under SD and federal law, it is only a violation of the law to discriminate based on specific protected criteria.

For example, it is illegal to discriminate based on age (over 40) race, color, creed, religion, sex (includes pregnancy), ancestry, disability or national origin.

It is not illegal to discriminate based on factors like education level, criminal background, and frankly, anything that is not a protected criteria.

What you describe sure sounds like discrimination.

But it is not clearly illegal discrimination unless you can show they are discriminating against you based on a protected criteria.

Do you know if this is the case?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I think so, I wasn't allowed to do certain things because I wasn't able because I am in wheelchair. I couldn't doe some of those things, but some of them I wasn't given a chance to find out if I was capable.

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 4 years ago.
Thank you

can you tell me, why is it you are in a wheelchair?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I was born with a progressive neurological disease called Friedreich's Ataxia.

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 4 years ago.

Then it may well be you "have a case"

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a disability as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity." The ADA requires that employers with 15 or more employees make reasonable accommodations be made for disabilities. Further, the ADA prohibits discrimination based on disabilities. If an employer violates the ADA, an employee may file a discrimination charge.

So in your case, if you can show that the discrimination the company took towards you was based on your disability? THen you could sue them for wrongful termination.

TO file this complaint you have to start with a complaint to the EEOC (equal employment opportunity commission)

You can see this process here

Once you file the EEOC will do an investigation. At the end of the investigation, if they can not resolve this with Home Depot they will issue you a "right to sue" letter that would allow you to have a lawyer file a discrimination claim.

Again, what you describe sounds like they were not treating you fairly...if you can show that it was due to your disability? Then you have a case.

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 4 years ago.
I am disheartened to see a negative rating. Not sure why. You asked about if you may have a discrimination case...the answer, as I explained, depends on if you can tie it to a protected class or not.

I am sorry that you are not satisfied with the answer, but sure wish you would not "shoot the messenger"... I spend time on this site to help folks like you, your negative rating makes that more difficult.