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May Update 2021

Hello! I apologize the past month has been sparse in activity and in posts. Things have gotten a bit stressful for us and we have to focus 100% on our health until we are recovered. Let me do a general rundown of what has happened. For the more in-depth story, I will have to see how things play out with the company first.

So John and I had a job in a cafeteria at our local school. We had worked there for a little over two months before things started becoming more and more stressful. Now keep in mind, we are autistic with PTSD so what most people think is just some 'annoyance' will actually bring us physical pain. Both because of how we process information, and from prior memories that have stamped physical reactions when we encounter it again.

We had mentioned to everyone we worked with since the beginning that we have these health concerns that may require some compromise so we can work. You know...ADA requirements and accommodations? We didn't get any. We tried talking to our supervisor (the one we worked with every day and above us in the hierarchy). She would just brush us off or gaslight us. Constantly talked down to condescendingly and it stressed us greatly since she didn't know how to do inventory and keep food from going bad. I tried a few times to offer to help keep track of inventory (to make sure I can notify her if things are going bad or we are running out of something etc). She REFUSED multiple times saying it's fine and she got it. (She did NOT have it).

Why am I getting upset about this? Because too many times we ended up serving bad food. Some of it was trash-worthy....and we were serving this to KIDS?!?! Such as 10-day old lunch meat that had been thawed and frozen a few times already. We would be pushed to serve it and that made us sick. We brought it up with her multiple times and also being gaslighted (meaning she denies it's even happening) was extremely upsetting.

Two weeks ago we brought it up with the next two level managers (since they seem to work together hand-in-hand often). They also gaslighted us and used logical fallacies on us such as "appeal to authority" while never addressing the problem. You can't insist someone is food certified if they aren't doing ANYTHING to prove they are such.

Well, they turned on us so we had three tiers upset with us for not keeping silent about the problem. Called HR for help and we were told there is ANOTHER tier of manager to contact, the district manager. We had to contact him before HR would do anything. However, he didn't even call or message us back after almost a week. So we then contacted HR about what was going on and also didn't hear back from them and it's been a week now.

So at this point, I will have to call in again on Monday to see what is going on. Not only did they not make any accommodations for us (for as little compromise as we asked).

What accommodations did we ask for? To not be talked down to condescendingly, do not interrupt us while in a process unless the information is really important and must be worked on at that moment. This includes a child missing their lunch during their allotted lunchtime and we have to pull an extra together for them versus the supervisor just stopping us mid-process to tell us to use the old cheese first when we don't even use cheese that day. That kind of difference of acceptable interruptions. Something as simple as this discombobulates our brain and we blank, having to reset and usually missing needed information to complete what we were working on. Every time she did that we made more mistakes. We also had already proven to her multiple times that we knew what we were doing and could run the whole kitchen without her. We just needed her to step back and let us do our jobs.

The other accommodation was about our vehicle which wasn't the best and had been mentioned when we were hired. We only have one vehicle that we have to share so we had to work the same shift. During icy or snowy weather our brakes will rarely work due to some water that had been left in. It crunches internally and doesn't allow the brakes to fully compress and help us stop. This means we would just keep sliding and had done so a few times already. So we would have to call out (we actually did once) due to the weather. We couldn't risk our only vehicle or our lives. When we were interviewed we would be told we would work at a school close to us. They moved us to the furthest school in our city. After we were hired, we were told they may try to move us closer. They never did nor made any attempt. We had to drive 15minutes to the edge of the city and with a crappy car like ours, it actually cost quite a bit of gas for us to drive that direction. Our mind was always bothered when our car would break down. We had taken the car in twice to be checked and the brakes weren't the most important issue. They were only bad during certain weather. But we were going to try and at least finish out the school year there (there were only three months left of school when we were hired).

Were we asking for too much? No. I know we weren't. But they didn't care about us and only cared that we took care of shifts for them. This was extremely stressful as we had to work in a hostile environment for a few days and that was too much even on our days off at home. We stopped being able to eat every day, our sleep/rest was basically nonexistent again with stronger PTSD nightmares, more physical pain, and nonstop mental distress. It was a struggle to shower, do laundry, make food, or any basic care needs we would have daily. We basically couldn't do it during this stress. We have pushed ourselves through bad jobs before to when it physically HURTS to where you need the Dr or a hospital, it's time to stop. This time we decided to stop earlier before we got to that point. But we were so close.

So now John has another job and I am at home just getting things together and organized. John's new job, on his first day in for training, already had compromises made for his health concerns. No ADA complaints here! Next week I will be looking for a job or some side jobs for now. I really get unsettled and mentally fogged when too much change happens. I haven't had a reliable and comforting pattern for too long so I need to get myself stabilized again. I'm starting to feel more and more the Autistic side of really hating change that it takes over your whole existence. I already have many things I need to keep track of and am trying to rebuild those habits (such as keeping track of finances and scheduling).

As you can see there has been a lot going on. We tried doing the right thing and basically were pressured to either comply with standards that could risk kids' lives or quit. No way were we going to allow that. But we had almost five pages worth of information that had been going on in the kitchen and with the people we worked with. If things don't go well, we will reveal all the details to hopefully stop the atrocity that is happening in our schools. No kids should be put at risk for the laziness and sloppiness of adults cutting corners.

But we are feeling much better and stronger for tackling this event! Our future looks hopeful once again!

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