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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Folks,<br><br>
I recently got demoted with a 25% paycut and transferred because they allege that I create an unharmonious work environment. Everyone who works with me is shocked and says that they don't agree at all. I have asked for an investigation and all the staff were told that there have been recent changes in our workplace and if they didn't fully accept those changes and move on, they would then get to join me in finding employment elsewhere.<br><br>
I do not flaunt my vegetarianism, but whenever we eat out, I do eat vegetarian and if someone is recommending a place to eat I ask if there are vegetarian options. There are over 3000 employees in my company and only one other is vegetarian that I am aware of. This agency promotes hunting and fishing- but the job I have is to promote non-consumptive outdoor recreation options, which I have been very successful at for the past 7 years. I know that several people in my chain of command are die hard hunters/fishermen who are anti-compassion for animals. I've had to endure jokes about PETA etc. and am ridiculed when I ask them to stop.<br><br>
So you are probably asking why do I even work here? Its because change sometimes happens best from the inside out. Through my work many people have seen that appreciating nature as a recreational activity can be more profitable than killing animals for sport. They also have seen where these types of programs can provide year round outdoor enjoyment at a fraction of the cost to the family as consumptive outdoor sports or other activities such as going to the movies.<br><br>
In my memo, they state that my personal views on hunting and fishing undermine the mission of the agency and contribute to a unharmonious work environement.<br><br>
I took this to court last week and it was pointed out to me that being vegetarian or having these beleifs was not a protected class. I pointed out that it was religious and sited Ahimsa as the religion, the judge has taken the decision under advisement and will give a decision sometime this week. Through my lawyer I have gotten the notes from the investigation they used to determine that I create an unharmonious environment. In it all of the people who currently work with me were very positive about the environment I create. They had to find 3 disgruntled former staff to interview to get anything negative. But that was witheld from court because no one on interview panel and none of the people interviewed was there to testify under oath.<br><br>
Has anyone else faced something similar? If so what did you do to fight it?<br><br><br>
I am so frustrated and angry at this whole thing. Even if you haven't faced this, just a little support would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Oh geez. No, I haven't encountered anything like that in my workplace. But there are three veg*ns including myself, which really helps. Also, if you live in the mid-U.S., I have a feeling I know where you work. And if I'm correct, then holy cow, I know EXACTLY what you mean. And the company's mentality is echoed by a significant part of the local community, which certainly doesn't help. You have my total support.
 

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I'm sorry, what a horrible envrinment.<br>
no, my workplace has never been bad like that. Just silly people who sometimes don't know any better.<br>
good luck to you. I hope it all works out.
 

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Wow, that's horrible. I bet if you were a buddhist or a hindu and happened to be a vegetarian as an extension of your "protected" beliefs, then you'd be in a better legal position.
 

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That is horrible. I can't say ive ever been discriminated against at work, as I do not work in such a company. Good luck with the rest of the court case. TBH if a company felt like that about me I wouldnt want to work for them, however I know its a case of 'easier said than done' and different if its you in that situation.
 

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Wow, that's horrible! That would be along the same lines as giving someone the sack because they were of a different race, would it not? The company wouldn't do that to anyone because of skin colour or heritage, why to you because of your lifestyle?
 

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I think it's a disgrace what they have put you through, and well done for standing up for your beliefs! You deserve <i><b>ALL</b></i> our support.
 

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I feel bad for you, but applaud you for taking a stand!! That's one of the hardest things to do, to stand in the face of an overwhelming majority and stay your ground.<br>
Hope everything turns out in your favor!
 

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Btw, have you been in contact with any vegetarian associations? Something like the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG), North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS), maybe PETA. Some of these may be able to offer legal advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for your support. It is greatly appreciated. I am fighting it as much as possible, but during the hearing most of what I had to say was objected to because it would have proven that they railroaded me with this decision. I also think the judge was not in my favor, since he had a young boy (maybe his son) with a rifle and dead deer as his screen saver on his computer.<br><br>
I work in management for the state parks department and they used a lawyer from the state attorney general's office to defend the case. I was on the witness stand for almost 3 hours trying to plead my case and having everything objected to by their lawyer. I also had 15 volunteers there to serve as witnesses for how I am at work, and the defense lawyer got the judge to agree that only those who are paid by the state could be a viable witness because volunteers do not count as workers. They allowed two of them to take the stand, but both faced many objections from the defense and it was decided that the remaining witnesses would not be used because the defense made it look like all their experiences and information was just heresay and further witnesses would be a waste of time. I am so angry right now.<br><br>
I really believe I am being shut down like this because I was successful at my job and the administration of this organization doesn't want hiking, bird watching, kayaking, picnicing, biking etc to take priority over hunting and fishing. I was told that these are traditional family values and it is against nature to discourage people from doing what the cave men did. Plus you don't need a license to do those things, which cuts into our budget. I don't argue with this level of arrogance/ignorance, I just tell them that people have the right to choose and its my job to give them non-consumptive options. It just sucks.<br><br>
I guess I should be proud that I survived this long in a good ole boy agency and was as open and proactive as I have been. I work in the deep south and am a lady from the midwest, so definately would never fit in with these good ole boys. In addition less than 10% of the people in parks management in this agency are women.<br><br>
I really want my job back, even through I know it will be difficult. The progress that we were making was really starting to take off. Since I have been on leave over the past month, things in that program have been neglected and they don't seem to be giving that work to any of my coworkers to pick up and continue.<br><br>
I really appreciate your positive encouragement and support.
 

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Holy crap. That's terrible. It's also proof that government agencies don't really care about the environment, or animals, or people. They just care about the money trophy hunting and fishing rakes in.<br><br>
I really hope something good comes out of this. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":(">
 

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Most recently at my on campus dining hall-where I also work- I got "You people have no souls." Excuse me?<br>
Most of the remarks are from one guy in particular.<br>
"Tempeh? My rabbits don't even eat that."<br>
Etc, etc. I tend to have some witty banter with him, but it's just so trivial to criticize people for what they choose to eat or not eat.
 

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I get some crap from coworkers, but certainly nothing like that.<br><br>
I second the posters that are suggesting getting in touch with a vegetarian organization or the ACLU. I bet PETA would be more than glad to take up your cause and help you pay a lawyer. And if you do happen to lose, you can at least give your former job some very nasty press.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Shiftiness</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2830940"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Have you considered getting in touch with ACLU? This sounds like the sort of case they would take up.</div>
</div>
<br>
I was going to say the same thing. If they're creating a hostile work environment for you, then it doesn't matter if you're in a protected class based on religion, race, etc. It sounds like you're going to lose in court due to a prejudiced judge, so it would be worth getting the ACLU involved and appealing to the next level in the court system.<br><br>
--Fromper<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/juggle.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":juggle:">
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
thank you all for your continued suggestions and support.<br><br>
I'm trying to schedule a meeting with my lawyer to ask about getting the ACLU, animal rights groups or EEOC involved at this point. He is very busy and difficult to get a hold of. I hadn't thought about the ACLU or animal groups, so really appreciate the suggestions.
 

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Wow... you hear of all sorts of ridiculous lawsuits going through, and then as soon as there's a blatant case of discrimination nothing gets done.<br><br>
Well done you for trying to fight it, though. Don't take it lying down. I sure as hell wouldn't.
 

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My god, that's horrible. I'm so sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just thought I would update you all.<br><br>
The judge has denied the injunction, noting that I still have a job and transfering is not unusual in the workplace.<br><br>
I'm trying to schedule a meeting with my lawyer, but his receptionist is unsure of his schedule, so I'm waiting for her to call me back.<br><br>
I'm so incredibley disappointed with the world right now.
 
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