OPINION | What I experienced working for the City of Minneapolis

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I had been working with the City of Minneapolis for six years and 11 months before I was discharged on July 3, 2014. I started in solid waste in 2007, then went to utility billing in February 2008. I was a customer service rep 1 before finally going to the Business License and Consumer Services Department in January 2011, where I was also customer services rep 1.

I was a target when I walked through the doors of the Business License and Consumer Services Department. They did a three-month review on me, though that is not their [usual] process on an employee in that department.

The management even listened to employees talk bad about me in the department and did nothing about it. When I brought it to their attention, they acted like they didn’t know what I was talking about. Employees refused to train me so I could learn my job, so I had to train myself by getting printouts and going step by step to learn my job.

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I met with the supervisor, management, assistant directors, and even talked to the director of my department. Fellow employees made it their purpose to bump into me and try to push my buttons so I can react, but I didn’t. When I told management, they called me crazy or the employee said I made them bump into me on purpose.

I have never been disciplined, written up, or given any steps that are in the union contract leading to my discharge from the City of Minneapolis. I never got a fair investigation from the City of Minneapolis (Human Resources Department) or Civil Rights Department because they get paid by the same people I get paid by.

I am a victim of retaliation, race, hostile work environment, harassment, and defamation of character because I reported my problem to the Civil Rights Department and Human Resources Department. The City has no paper trail about me having bad work performance, and they also don’t have a paper trail about me having attitude problems. But I continued to get harassed during this time.

I even went beyond my job duties and trained employees, and the employees I would train they would hire to a higher position than me although I also bid on those positions. The one question I would ask them is if I had such bad work performance, why did you let me continue to train employees. They would always go around that question.

I dealt with these issues for over three years. It was very hard to go to work, but I had family that I had to take care of. I cried many days at home and at work, but I had to stay focused and do my job.

The last thing I would like to say is I even have email from management saying this is not a discipline matter. So why am I getting disciplined and why am I without a job? They even sent out an email calling me dangerous and to call 911 if they [other employees] see me on City property. And this came out even before I was even fired from the City. How did these employees know I was without a job before I knew? And this came from another department in the City, not mine.

I wish this on no one. I will continue to fight for justice.

Editor’s note: We are interested to know if other City of Minneapolis employees have had experiences similar to Mr. Ray’s and have not received fair hearings from the Human Resources and Civil Rights Departments. The MSR invites any such employees, former or current, to contact us and tell us their stories, which will be held in strict confidence unless we are authorized otherwise. Contact Editor-in-Chief Vickie Evans-Nash at vnash@spokesman-recorder.com or call her at 612-827-4021.