I was a retail sales associate at Hard Rock Café for 12 ½ years. Recently, I was forced out due to retaliation that took many forms from upper management. These are just some of the problems I had to endured before my termination.
I was given only 2 or 3 days a week. And if they did give me 5 days, they would cut me every day by 1pm. I was suddenly stripped of my duties in administrative work and receiving of merchandise. I asked my department head about it. He replied, “I have to guarantee the Russian students 35 hours for the next 3 months.” In the past, when we had Russian students working there, everyone was treated equally. They evaluated us based on sales performance. But how do you expect someone to put their best foot forward when the scales are unbalanced? The end result was that I couldn’t keep up with my bills, including my son’s orthodontist payments. I’m on the verge of eviction. And this restaurant is supposed to be family-oriented.
Then there was a lack of respect. For example, a manager used to call me “Girl,” rather than my name. One day, one of the managers started flicking coasters at me out of nowhere. Then later, that same person aggressively approached me asking various questions. He entered my personal space and was so close to me that I could feel the sprinkling of his saliva on my left ear. When I complained about his behavior to the general manager, nothing was done, so I complained to Human Resources. They remained neutral, as if protecting the company. The manager started harassing me. We were walking past the expo area, and he said, “Dead woman walking,” in front of a bunch of other servers.
The managers also injected their personal feelings and emotions in with their slurs towards me, which is one way to try to break me down emotionally, to make me want to quit. But instead, I tried to turn those negatives into a positive by focusing on how to stay afloat.
I was unable to function. Emotionally I was scarred. Mentally, too, because it was uncalled-for stress that was put upon me. It could have been prevented had there been more support within management. But everybody is for themselves. They put on one face to show that this is a “caring restaurant.” It’s all washed up. It’s just writings on the wall. They’re not standing by their mottos or their values.
I think the whole big issue is greed. It’s not about people anymore. It’s just about the mean green. Saving money by not paying people what they’re worth. If you’re paying people well and treating them right, you build a strong clientele. You get back what you put out. I don’t know how they expect people to grow if they’re trying to suck them dry.
Why can’t we get respect from management? Everybody has a right to be respected, to have dignity, and to voice their opinion in the event that they’re mistreated. The people who control the Harbor should take notice of the inhumane acts occurring on their watch. They need a wake-up call.