Case 027 - Museum

I am employed as a costumed historical interpreter in an 18th century living history museum in Virginia. It is a huge organization that prides itself on presenting a politically correct face to the public. However, the truth is very far from that public image.

In front of a witness, I was called low-class Shanty Irish by a supervisor. She told me that I needed speech therapy, and that I was so awful that people would only listen to anything that I had to say out of pity.

I followed the company "chain of command" and filed report after report with management. Each manager chose to ignore this complaint, although they would tell me in confidence that this was outrageous and illegal and should be dealt with appropriately.

A year went by. I finally had my report taken to the "top" of this museum. What I got was a written response informing me that A) the fact that this supervisor spoke to me at all was a courtesy B) the actual words spoken to me were also a courtesy!

At my wits end, I finally took the case to a government organization that "protects" the rights of workers. In essence, their response was that, even though I had a file on this incident as thick as a phone book, I had no proof of any actual misconduct.

In essence, I learned one significant lesson out of all this. In my place of employment and in the state of Virginia, workers have no rights no matter what injustices are perpetrated against them. I should also point out that I learned that what this particular "supervisor" did to me was nothing ... she insulted many, many other employees. However, due to her personal "liaisons" with people who can protect her, she has carte blanche to do as she pleases to anyone.

The reality of day-to-day life is not always the same as what is written in the law. That is a sad fact of life.

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