I’ve been suspended from work without pay again this week. Yesterday, Maria Barreto read a second final warning to me– one that promised ‘this is your real final warning’.
The Jewish Board is being sleazy. My suspension without pay has nothing to do with job performance. This is the second time I have been suspended without pay in three months– not including the $5,000 reduction from my annual salary that occurred two years ago. My pay was cut after I asked to be relived of new job duties for which I received a bonus. I requested reasonable accommodation because I have schizophrenia. They had grounds to take my bonus back, but they have no right to continue to suspend me without pay, threatening my very livelihood.
Paul Levine offered me a $5,000 raise to take minutes for the Youth Counseling League’s Divisional Board. My style of writing caught the attention of powerful people at JBFCS and they thought they were doing me a service by giving me more money and more job assignments.
“Look, I can’t do this. It’s not as simple as taking minutes,” I said to my boss at the time, Joan Adams. “You also want me to call and remind everyone of the meetings once a month, order food, reserve meeting rooms…the list goes on and on. Listen, Joan. I’m not exaggerating. I was institutionalized for over a month in 2002. I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. I don’t want to go back there. Please just let me do this one job.”
“You don’t have schizophrenia, you have bi-polar disorder,” my employer informed me.
My case was heard by the New York State Division of Human Rights, but no wrongdoing was found because too much time had passed from the moment the claim of discrimination occurred.
I’m a cripple. I told them to keep their money and let me continue doing the job for which I was hired to do– Office Manager. I’m protected by federal and state law.
I understand why and how what I write causes such a stir, especially when what I dictate in minutes serves as official documentation to remain in organization by-laws for decades. Most secretaries cannot do what I do– write well. My disability should not be written off simply because of my prose.
The Jewish Board has cut more than $7,000 from my take-home pay, and yet they continue to make me perform job duties from which I was relieved of doing after the pay cut. Last week, I reminded my boss that my pay was reduced and no longer was I being paid to write grant proposals on behalf of Susan Marx, a consultant grant writer who sits on the Board of Directors for the Jewish Board.
Apparently JBFCS will never forgive me for calling Joyce Cowin, the powerful Board Member, an ugly, old bitch– well, that’s not what I called her, but that’s what was on the tip of my tongue on the day I told her off. My words to Joyce Cowin on a Monday were these–
“I’m sorry I didn’t call you on Friday to remind you of the Board Meeting, Ms. Cowin, but I was told to call everyone on Monday.”
“You better straighten-up,” Joyce threatened.
“Who the hell do you think you are? This isn’t the West Bank of Israel. Listen to me, I have schizophrenia – a disability– and I’ve already requested ‘reasonable accommodating’ with Human Resources. Why are you calling to hound me?”
“What? What was that? What did you just say to me?” Joyce Cowin asked.
“You heard me. I am an individual with schizophrenia who just so happens to work for an institution that serves individuals with mental illness. Now get over it. It’s my right to request reasonable accommodation when things get too stressful at work. One should expect more from such an institution– one that receives funding from the New York Times Neediest cases fund. Try practicing what you read, honey. You have no right to complain to me directly. You are a Board member. If you have a complaint about the work I’m doing, take it up with Human Resources. I’m tired of all the whining, bitch!”
“I’ll take care of this matter,” Joyce threatened. She sure did. Our telephone argument resulted in a full investigation by the JBFCS Human Resources Department and New York State Division of Human Rights, under the scrutiny of Alton Wolff, Human Rights Specialist. The Jewish Board still took back the $5,000 despite our meeting at the State Office Building in Harlem. JBFCS has suspended me twice, for an entire week, without pay.
Joyce Cowin really is a powerful bitch.
According to what was written in my first ‘written warning’, I called Joyce Cowin a “money grubbing whore”– I never called Joyce Cowin a money grubbing whore– I said that to my boss, Joan Adams, who tried to make me take on new job responsibilities, despite my request for reasonable accommodation due to schizophrenia.
I never called Joyce Cowin a money grubbing whore. When the state asked Joyce Cowin to report to my disability hearing, JBFCS’s lawyer reported she couldn’t show, supposedly because her daughter’s tit had cancer in it. All I can say is that what comes around goes around, Joyce–you big cow!
The Jewish Board’s game of discrimination has grown old, like Paul Levine, the President and CEO who earns almost $1 Million a year, for looking old and ugly all the time.
Thanksgiving this year may consist of turkey burgers with all the trimmings at my house, but guess what, motherfukers– I’m free.
You have a demon and her name is Joyce Cowin!