Jump to content

A message from ... If anyone has encouragement....


Recommended Posts

Contact Info.

Name Surname: Perry Jordan

E-Mail: pjordan1@tampabay.rr.com

Your Message: Here\'s my story. It isn\'t pretty but it\'s real!

I was fired from my job of 5 years with Cargill Fertilizer at the end of July. I had always been an exemplary employee, receiving excellent reviews, promotions, and pay raises. I was awarded August 2001 Quality Employee of the Month. In May 2002, I was diagnosed with a 5 mm spot on my right lung from my chest x-ray, during a routine physical exam. This eventually was positively diagnosed as lung cancer on January 14, 2003. On January 28 I left work on sick leave to have the upper lobe or my right lung removed. The operation was a total success, and the cancer was caught so early that no other treatments have been necessary, other than monitoring with quarterly CT scans.

On my immediate return from sick leave I was made to work in the Tampa offices away from my normal work location in Bartow. I was given special assignments and told I was to work in Tampa so they could \"evaluate my performance\". My month in Tampa soon turned to a month in hell. I was constantly micromanaged, lied about to my team lead on my whereabouts, lied to by my supervisor, and continually threatened my job. After taking my problems to my supervisor\'s boss about my treatment by co-workers in Tampa, I was immediately suspended and placed on probation for unspecified behavioral problems. Of these were arguments with my supervisor from catching him lying to me and trying to make me think I was crazy. He was fully aware of my physical treatments for cancer and continuing psychological treatment for severe depression and anxiety before I left on sick leave.

When placed on probation, my progress was to be evaluated in weekly meetings by the two people that were harassing me the most, my team lead and supervisor, who I had gone to his boss about. No other parties were involved. If I tried to be quiet, I was accused of withholding information and not being a team member. If I stated my views on technical issues, I was accused of being disruptive to the team, even though my views were correct. After ending a threatening and belligerent phone call from another employee, I attempted to report it to my team lead and supervisor. Neither answered their phones, or returned my voicemail. In a meeting the next day, I tried to address it, and they refused to talk or even listen to what happened. After two days, and the \"investigation\" by HR, I was deemed as the aggressor. This investigation never included talking to me to hear my actual complaint from anyone. They only talked to the person that threatened me. After a month on probation and a Personal Improvement Plan, I was deemed to have made no progress and placed on another months probation with a written warning I was to be terminated if I didn\'t improve. Also, during this time, I had my annual performance review, in which my supervisor demanded I rate myself at the lowest level for the complete fiscal year, even though my previous quarterly reviews were top rate. After I complied, with protest, they raised my rating to the next lowest level.

I tried to lie low even as much to lock myself away from other employees to lessen my contact with them and focus strictly on performing my work. I was constantly micromanaged and having my priorities bounced from one project to another by my team lead. If I even questioned him I was accused of being argumentative. I went as far as to give rights to my e-mail box to my team lead and manager so they could see the tasks on my list and prioritize them to their liking so they wouldn\'t keep switching me around. Even this didn\'t do any good. In my final probation meeting I was goaded into another argument by my supervisor about my \"poor\" use of e-mail and how mine are too long. He continually browbeat and mentally abused me during these PIP meetings where I would often break down in tears in his office due to my feelings of helplessness. I left this last meeting crying, driving home from Tampa, knowing I was going to be fired the next week. On the way home, at 4:00 PM, I received a phone call from the plant automation superintendent telling me that he needed his server, I was responsible for building, that next morning, instead of a week later as I was previously told. I told him I\'d go in and have it ready. I worked until 10:00 PM that night to have it ready. The next morning, he thanked our department in e-mail for helping him out of a jam. My supervisor, who normally lavishes anyone with praise when then do the least little thing beyond the call of duty, wrote an e-mail back saying he didn\'t owe us anything, and we were just \"doing our job\". He didn\'t even know what I was working on. I\'ve found out since that the tactic they used on me is called \"mobbing\". False allegations against me, charges of being disruptive if I defend myself, spreading lies about what I say to other employees. Cargill could teach it well.

That next week, a co-worker came into the data center where I was working alone. He asked me how I was doing and I told him I felt I was probably going to be fired that week. I explained what all has happened and how my manager had even ignored my last contribution of working overtime to get a job done, even when I knew I was going to be fired. I told him that \"I am so glad I\'m a Christian, or I could have killed my supervisor for the emotional abuse I\'ve been put through for the last four months\". I told him how degrading it was and how many times I\'ve left my meetings in tears and no one should have to go through that, especially after all I\'ve been through this past year and a half. I told him that had this happened last year before I dedicated my life to Jesus Christ, the old Perry would not have just sat there and cried, prayed, and accepted the mental abuse. Two days later the HR vice president for Florida comes in and asks to meet with me. He says he\'s heard about my problems and wants to know what\'s going on. I thought, finally, someone is going to listen objectively. After about 30 minutes of me showing him evidence of my mistreatment, he asks me if I threatened to kill my supervisor. I looked at him funny, and said \"no\". He then asked me if I said, \"I am so glad I\'m a Christian, or I could have killed my supervisor\", and I said yes, because of the emotional abuse he\'s put me through since my return from sick leave. I made it a point to clarify that I didn\'t say I was going to kill him, I said I was glad I\'m a Christian. I am very active in my church at least 4 days a week. He then said that we were spinning our wheels, and for me to go home while he investigated. Three days later I received a registered letter stating I was fired for violation of Cargill\'s violence in the workplace policy.

I tried to talk to higher management, but they would not listen or act. I have filed a complaint of discrimination due to my condition of being a cancer survivor and known psychological treatment, and retaliation with the EEOC. They took the case and granted me the right to sue although they could find in either\'s favor. I consented to mediation, but Cargill declined. They had offered me to pilot their Employee Dispute Resolution program earlier, which included mediation and arbitration, but I had to agree not to go public if I lost or won. They would not agree to allowing the EEOC to mediate due to public exposure.

I had asked for help from HR and continually let my fears be known that I was scared of losing my job from the first day I returned due to being an insurance liability, and the low 5 year survival rate for lung cancer (14%). Since being fired, my depression has worsened to the point I can hardly sleep over 2 to 3 hours a night. I continually wake up with nightmares of the events during my return from surgery. I am fearful of the cancer returning as stress has been reported to be a contributing factor for cancer. I really need help, as I am single and alone, and having a very hard time focusing enough to even pay my bills on time. I am 50 years old, and had perfect credit before this abuse at work. Now it is ruined because I\'m unable to manage my life. I am scared for my own physical safety as thoughts of suicide may be the only way out of this. I know I will not be able to get an equivalent job because of my health history, even though my doctors says I\'m fine now.

My unemployment was under appeal, as Cargill has also denied me unemployment compensation after I filed charges with the EEOC. I received my first week check, but then it was stopped. I\'m not sure if this was in response to my filing with the EEOC or not. And, as I can\'t really prove I was fired for having cancer, it is strange how I can be a high performer and golden boy for four years and then not competent to do my job after my surgery.

I won my appeal as the unemployment judge ruled I did not make a death threat and was only blowing off steam to a fellow employee and I was more credible than Cargill\'s representatives. Immediately after winning my unemployment, Cargill filed a restraining order against me saying they were scared for their safety and I was stalking them because I called personnel 18 times in 3 months to try to get the last of my personal effects from my office. They didn\'t mention that HR refused to return my calls. Now I have to retain an attorney at $5000 to defend myself in court over the restraining order. Cargill\'s attorney called me and offered to pay my $500 a month COBRA payment to continue my insurance and get the American Cancer Society to hold sensitivity training for Cargill\'s supervisors if I would drop my discrimination charges. I don\'t think so. Anyway, I\'m still glad I\'m a Christian and can forgive them, even if I only have $300 dollars left to my name. I suppose I should be glad to be a survivor, but it sure seems it might have been better to not even have been diagnosed and cured so that I wasn\'t such a burden on my family and I could at least leave my son enough money to bury me. Oh, I\'ve had lots of support from these \"Cancer\" organizations. They have sent me enough pamphlets that I can at least have fuel for my fireplace as winter approaches. I feel that all this \"cancer\" support stuff is just a business like anything else, and are only organized to pay the chairman\'s salary. Oh well, I guess I\'m just a bit bitter. I hope everyone has more support than I\'ve received.


Perry Jordan

3496 Shepherd Rd.

Mulberry, FL 33860

(863) 644-1207

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Perry,

I was heartbroken when I read your post and didn't know what to say at first so I've come back to it a couple of hours later...maybe I still won't say the right things but I needed to respond.

Two months ago today I lost my Dad to this terrible disease. He fought with all he had in him and we fought right beside him. I am still feeling cold and angry that he had to lose his battle. Heaven received an incredible man but I am left with an emptiness that won't ever be filled again.

The old saying that everything happens for a reason is not easily acceptable and certainly not one that some of us who have gone through so much want to hear. But there must be some truth in it. For if we don't believe in something then we've got nothing. You have been through SO much. It is unimaginable the trials you have been through. But that is just it....you've been through them. You've been carried through. Be it by the grace of a superior being, the love and support of those who care about you or your own strength. Maybe all of those things. This cancer didn't stop you. Don't you let the intolerable acts of other humans put an end to all you have become. By all means, fight for what is right and fight hard but don't let them take your self worth away. Don't give them that.

I don't have all the answers I just want you to know that they are in the wrong but you can rise above anything and everything they have thrown at you. YOU ARE A SURVIVOR. There is a reason you are still here on this earth. Try to find the things you are thankful for. All of our time is so short here with the ones we love. Cherrish every moment.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


I feel for you, I do. I had a federal job with tenure, and they still tried to put me out, but thankfully I was able to find something else at this huge place and transfer before the "illegal" action went through. Yes, the administration sat on it, didn't take action, but didn't do doodly to help me out either. I had to find my own job out of there, on my own merits.

If you can survive the cancer, you can survive this. Sure, it stinks, it isn't fair at all. BUT. you have your life. You have a good shot at winning the suit. And maybe they won't do this to someone else down the road.

I do know that now I sure look at work a whole lot differently than I did.

Maybe in a quiet place inside yourself where you aren't so angry at being treated so unfairly you can reflect on how you really feel about work now, after you've survived cancer. About how you feel about life after cancer. And about how you want to spend your energy now.

God bless and take care, Perry. You're in our prayers.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

The story reminds me of the Lance Armstrong book where his team manager stopped by to see him while he was going through chemo. A few days later they dropped him from the team and left him without medical insurance.

Thomas Wentzel (sp?) financial, Nike, Oakley and others stood by him and offered him a job and health insurance.

Two years later he won the probably the most demanding sport in the world. He made a point to walk by his old team manager and had a few words with him.

Hope it turns out for you like it did for Lance

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.