There is no time like the present to deal with people who need to be dealt with. Sometimes we can get scared into not saying something when we really should be exposing people’s actions for what they are. Dana had to decide to risk it all to defend herself. In the end, you have to do what is right. Content edited for clarity.
The sacrifices we make for our family can be intense. This is why they are called labors of love. Sometimes you have to make the best decision for your family, but it doesn’t end up exactly how you would have hoped. And sometimes you get entangled in a mess you had no idea was piling up.
Some people are more prepared for when things start to go south in a new situation than others. And from this story, we learn why it is always important to stand your ground and stay observant. Not only can we learn from others’ mistakes, but we can also learn from their successes. And although this family had to go through a potentially disastrous situation, they held their ground and did the right thing to protect their family.
Even in the face of threatening your livelihood, it is still worth risking to do what is needed to be done and what is right. This is the story of a hard-working woman who went up against a corrupt system. She tried rolling with the punches for so long, but after a while, she simply had to take things into her own hands. Was it tough? You bet. Was it fair? Absolutely not, but sometimes that is just how life is. Things may have not panned out the way Dana wanted, but she was going to be darn sure to take her culprits down with her!
A Tight-Knit Crew
“James” and “Dana” were just starting a new chapter of their life and they had to make a big decision. It was the mid-90s and they were newlyweds with a newborn baby girl. These were a lot of firsts for them and they knew they would need to adjust their lifestyle to accommodate. Dana was working “in health care as a home care nurse, traveling from house to house looking after people.” This was not the best situation when she had a new baby at home. Dana decided she couldn’t be on the move so much, she needed something a bit more stable. She was able to get a job as a cleaner on the military base that was close to them.
Now, there is always going to be something complicated to ruin something good. Unfortunately, this new job was not going to be all they expected. And even though it shouldn’t matter, Dana is visible as a minority. This is unfortunately important to the story. One other very important thing; Dana was very observant and due to her experience in the healthcare field, “she logs everything as a force of habit.”
This is a good combination of things. With the world the way it is, Dana was always watching out.
The situation wasn’t the best right off the bat. There was only five cleaning employees total, including Dana. And the other four were very close. Even though she had been hired by “a national company” she had been hired to replace one of the former employees, who had also been very close to the remaining employees. They were “Louise” the boss and her best friend, “Donna,” Donna’s brother, “Dan,” and Louise’s niece, “Tracy.” All of them lived on the base. They all knew each other, lived near each other.
Obviously, they were a tight-knit crew. Dana was “a true outsider.” And she soon began to realize things were not quite right.
When Dana began working she noticed the job wasn’t exactly like it had been advertised. She was scheduled and paid to work from 4:00 pm until midnight, but “she was home by 8:00 pm every night.” Even with the shortened hours, she was still being paid for the full hours she was scheduled. This would seem like a great thing, but she was certainly suspicious.
Next, Dana noticed that was being excluded from certain duties. She was mostly “excluded from cleaning the buildings that housed the engineering and tenancy offices.” She might not have thought anything of it, however, “occasionally, when she would clean those offices she saw her colleagues rifling through desks and filing cabinets, photocopying documents and other shady stuff.” This certainly raised some eyebrows.
Dana knew there was something fishy going on and began to keep tabs on her co-workers. She would document everything. Anytime she caught them doing something shady she would document it. She did not know if her records would even matter but she took countless notes just in case. You never know when you might need receipts to cover your tracks! Little did Dana know those little records of hers would come in handy later.
One time Dana “saw Louise threaten a soldier with extra duties for not opening doors fast enough.” It turned out, Louise was married to a senior officer on base. She was using her husband’s rank to threaten soldiers!
Dana was severely uncomfortable with the way things were being run, but this job was valuable to her and her family. Dana “was willing to accept a little discomfort to her ethics,” because she knew how hard it may be to find another job to meet her needs.
However, like most bad things, there comes a point when it becomes too much. And this happened only a few months after she started.
“After a few months, the racial epithets started.” It was like an avalanche, starting with the slight movement of snow, nicknames, and turning into a dangerous situation, with slurs and rumors. The jokes and whispers were incessant. This was turning into a terrible workplace for Dana. She did not feel safe. The four employees did not even try to hide their remarks about Dana. She attempted to express her discomfort to them, “she got called weak, and they threatened her employment.”
How do you find a way to work in those conditions? If you feel unsafe, unwanted, laughed at, and made to be a joke. Not only was it inappropriate, but it also should not be allowed in the workplace at all. Dana decided she would speak to someone higher up. She even told the group, “she would go to the head office.”
Things had escalated way too far and it was time to have this rectified. Dana called the office and expressed her concerns. She spoke with “Stuart from HR” about the situation hoping to find some resolution. She was immediately talked down to. She was handled as if this was just “woman’s talk” and “she needed to thicken her skin and not be too sensitive.”
This was unbelievable! After everything, she had given up for her family, this was how she was treated? She felt disrespected, to say the least. Whatever happened to common decency?
Dana told Stuart she would be speaking with the authorities over the matter since it was not being addressed properly. Stuart replied saying “no laws have been broken” and he even encouraged her to reach out to higher powers. What a bluff.
In fact, at the end of that very shift, Dana was “fired for attitude.” So now she had lost her job over defending herself against her fellow workers. They had created a hostile environment and yet she (and her family) was paying the price.
Dana would not let it stand.
She Was Not Bluffing
Dana did as she said she would. She was not bluffing. However, she did not stop at the police. No, “she went to the Human Rights Commission and to the military base headquarters.”
It was time to make sure something was done about this situation.
Remember the records Dana had been keeping? They finally came in handy. She handed photocopies over to the authorities to look over. “The Human Rights investigation determined this was a work environment that tolerated [discriminative] behaviors.”
The first step in making amends was “an apology and an acknowledgment from Stuart.” Although he was clearly insincere and was not reprimanded harshly at all for his neglect. Stuart did not see the brunt of the karma he should have. He was eventually moved from his post, but nothing was truly ever done.
Although he did not reap the full consequences, luckily the rest of the group did because “behind the scenes, the base had been doing their own investigation.”
Throughout the course of this investigation, several things were discovered which further incriminated Dana’s co-workers. Louise and her husband were found to have been taking advantage of his rank. Louise’s threats had not been empty for the soldiers, her husband was in fact punishing them which was a violation of his power. He had even made the one soldier do “two weeks extra duties.”
Dana had exposed the workers for going through papers and private property. And although they were only looking for gossip and they never uncovered any classified information, it was still a high risk for the military base. Dana’s records proved to be very useful in determining when and who concerning the snooping.
The last straw was when the workers were caught paying themselves double for their work. The contract with the base required 40 hours of service per day.” They were doing half of the hours and getting paid for all. “There was a clause in the cleaning contract that stated that federal government human rights regulations needed to be followed. The results of the Commission’s investigation determined that they were in violation.”
However, the shock did not end there.
“Other bases were contacted to see what was going on with this company, and they found out others were having similar issues.” And so all contracts were broken due to the violations. They all lost their jobs. A new cleaning company was hired. They were hired to work during the day, instructed not to interact with personnel, and had “undergo vetting for security.” There were no more cutting corners, there were no more cutting hours, there was no more inappropriate behavior tolerated.
Dana had turned the whole place around. She refused to sit and quietly accept her position in the hostile environment and knew she had to take action. So many others get stuck in a place where they are unable to escape the intolerance. However, she made an incredible change when she decided she would not stand the nastiness thrown at her.
At the end of the day, Dana still lost her job. She had to return to working in health care to provide for her family; however, she knew she had made the right decision. Her former co-workers deserved what they got for their awful actions.
Sometimes karma handles things, but sometimes you have to take things into your own hands. Dana and her husband know now they should have spoken up sooner. However, they were young and just trying to survive as a new family. They learned a huge lesson during this time. If you think you should say something, say something. It is not worth the stress and eventual pain and time to wait it out and hope it gets better. And although she is in a better place now, “every once in a while she wonders what Stuart thinks of women’s talk now.”