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Dismissal timeline

Dismissed without recourse

This page is a copy of the story of my departure from Strictly Organic Coffee Company in Bend Oregon, as I told it to an attorney via email.

An employee in Oregon is not entitled to keep his or her job. I had no recourse. Unless I could show that somebody had discriminated against me as a member of a specific protected class of people, there was nothing that I could do.

An employer may legally dismiss an employee "for any reason or no reason." That is the technical legal terminology.

Christina, a fellow employee, began to studiously ignore me. When I said something about this to another employee, Christina claimed to feel unsafe and insisted that I be terminated. Her actions and those of that other employee, Stuart, were enough to convince my employer Rhonda to fire me.

Rhonda felt bad about letting me go, and said that if she were in better medical condition she would have liked to do more to help me.

On Friday 12 December 2014, I said to Stuart that Christina "spends so much energy ignoring me that it's like she's paying attention." Stuart (Christina's housemate) began shouting at me in front of customers and employees.

On Monday the 15th (after my weekend) the kitchen manager Samantha McLeod told me that Christina was talking about filing a formal complaint against me. "For what?" I asked. She didn't know. That afternoon I talked with Rhonda. Rhonda asked, rhetorically, "what's she going to do, go to the state?" — implying that Christina's complaint was non-substantial.

When I arrived at work at 3:50 AM on Tuesday the 16th, Rhonda and Richard Ealy (co-owner) were there. "This thing with Christina has gotten out of hand," Rhonda said, and "we're going to have to let you go." Rhonda also told a version of the conversation between myself and Stuart, a version that included me confessing to being "fixated" on Christina. This was untrue. Rhonda said it had been corroborated by several witnesses, but it did not happen.

Rhonda and I spoke every day for the next week via telephone. I believed that she was acting in good faith and trying to help work out a peaceful resolution.

On Thursday the 18th, I (finally, and in diplomatic tones) asked Rhonda if Christina had made a specific accusation. Rhonda said that she hadn't, and that we probably shouldn't press for one. I agreed — again, believing that Rhonda was trying to act on my behalf.

On the morning of Friday the 19th, I asked Rhonda if she had tried to "talk Christina down." Rhonda made it clear that she hadn't been speaking with Christina about this since Monday the 15th, the day that Rhonda and Richard had made their original decision. That evening she called me to say that they were going to stick with it.