Mental health Legal fees

In 2009 I took a job with a large company in the advertising area.    I was an award-winning sales manager for this company.  It all started early in my career I was talked to many times about poor communication.  Then shortly after that, my entire office worked extremely hard to win a trip to Mexico.  Wouldn't you know we as a team won the trip? Each employee in the office, four of my star employees, won the trip along with me.  During this time, I was doing fantastic numbers, and it was a great win for my team and the company. Two weeks before the trip, I received a call from a customer questioning some issues with his invoices.  We did not have contracts to match the customers' invoices.  This error was done prior to me ever taking the position starting my employment.  It turned out to be a write off double digits.  The VP of my area of  the company called me and took the trip away because we did not have contracts.  It was a final warning, but the company told me I was still a top performer as a manager. My team went on the trip, but I was told to rip up the tickets for my wife and me. This was done two days prior to leaving.  It was becoming evident that my boss was not an ethical person and was not being truthful.  Next, I was given two written performance reports at the same time. Both were plans that would terminate me if I did not get better in communication and forecasting.  Long detailed documents that directed me what to do and make sure I adhered to this or I could be terminated.  I already had a final warning, so I wanted to make sure I did not lose my job. I worked on the two plans at the same time both different and with no help from my boss.  Weeks later after I complained my area VP had established a system of collecting contracts electronically.].   In 2010 I was in my office, and I got a call about my forecast.  My manager started yelling at me to the point that I laid my head on the desk and could not speak. I started to cry as he continued to literally yell at me.   At this point, I came forward to my boss and told him I had dyslexia and a learning disability, and it had to do with writing, mathematical, and comprehension.  It was n He said oh that's the issue. I was not required, but there was no training for me, and the environment he kept me in was always toxic and unattainable.  The next week he came to the office and asked me if I would like to step down to an AE over the next few months. He continued to ask me for two years. At one training event, we were at his cabin. He did not do any training he told us to check e-mails etc and he went out a mowed his lawn at his cabin.   During my employment, I had also asked for an accommodation, and the company said they would give them to me but then never did.   I had no reason to have to tell him of my disability, but I chose to.  That, as you will see moving forward, was the worst thing I could have ever done.  Even with documentation.  My boss started to bully me about my performance and make jokes about me in front of my peer's.  Anything with my job he was never willing to step up and help me figure it out. He was never willing to give me input.  I would ask him how you feel I am doing as a manager. He would turn it back on me. How do you feel you are doing as a manager?  In 10 years of employment, we as managers got minimal help with anything, and training was bad until it was forced by upper management above my boss's boss.  The manager was setting me up along with other managers to fail.  The company was aware as I had talked with  HR numerous times about my manager. She would do an investigation, and none of my fellow  LSM ’s would stand behind me and they would say it was not happening or they did not see it but basically did not want to get involved so I do not hold it against any of them.  So, in most cases, I was the one who was making up stories about my boss.  All my life, I have dealt with generalized anxiety and worry about what others think of me.  It wasn't easy a lot of the time. About six years into my employment, I started to have issues with Depression. It started as a minor inconvenience.  In 2018 it was now determined it was major recurrent depression.  Due to two attempts of suicide.  During my employment. I would do a proper forecast as the company asked, and the next day I would go in and look at my forecast and it was checked out by my manager and inflated he had increased my forecast without telling me.  He would inflate the numbers, and he would then yell at me at the end of the month that I missed the budget. My forecast was way off all the time and I started to document it as he was creating a no-win situation for me.  This went on for years.  I went to HR and told them he was inflating numbers, and again my co-workers would not back my complaint and said they did not see this happening.  This became extremely difficult, and I finally needed to take 12 weeks off, which the company was asking me if I could call in, etc., to meetings.  My doctor was aware of what was going on, and it was the anxiety, depression, and stress of this toxic environment. In those twelve weeks, I went through all kinds of therapy with tons of information on treatment by my manager.  I came back to work, and I was at work for about three weeks, and my father died of a stroke, and my boss did not do anything for me.  It was a difficult time. I then came back to work, and in three months, my father in law died. I was supposed to go to a meeting in another state.  I called my boss and told him.  He said, let me check with the VP to see if we need you at the meeting.   I was like, ok. I can't be with my family.  The next day I was told my ticket was canceled and I could stay home with my family.  At this point was starting to get extremely stressed and being treated differently in many ways from other Managers and being compared to them in a bad way directly from the manager.  Other Sales Manager were getting special training and being allowed to go to special auto training in Florida for a week going to special events in other states. I was not allowed to do any of that stuff.  I was always being compared to another Manager in Rosemount, who was able to get training almost every year and allowed to go to all kinds of events and build his resume in looking at his resume.   In 2018 things were getting so toxic that the manager talked about my learning issues at a bar in front of my peers and those working for us.  And making comments about me.  I got upset and went to the elevator in the hotel, and he went up the elevator and tried to explain himself. He was aware he was wrong but he was extremely drunk.   He told me that night, drunk as can be, he would fire me as he was my boss, and he would win if I reported him to HR and got pissed and went back to the bar after a 1/2 hour of arguing with me.   In 2018 we were filling a position within the company for a senior position of the planner as my boss, and I left Minneapolis going to a WI meeting. He told me before interviewing the gal in my office that he had already made his choice.  I had great respect for this person in my office and I took it hard it was decided before her even getting an interview.  When we got to the meeting location, I tried to talk to the second hiring manager to get the gal that worked for me a second chance at the second interview and built her up to her ability to do a better job.  It came down to the person my manager wanted.  A person who oversaw this new position JB made it clear after the offer that my employee also was a top candidate, and it was a tough position but it was my manager's decision and he made it.  My employee was 100% better at her job, and they would not accept her in this new position and no one had any idea what she did unless I reported it to them which I did all the time.  I was upset as the decision was made without this woman getting her fair interview. It ate me up inside but I had to go with it and I tried to get her the position.  My manager talked about people all the time and was consistently telling others about our downfalls etc. He talked with me always about the bad things other managers did or employees.  He even talked with me about another gal who left the company and she was bad news and she put another director through hell. Why is that my business as I'm having the same issues. If you got on either the VPS or Directors' bad side it was not fun.  In 2018 I started to have major depression issues ending up hospitalized from a meeting with my boss as he was so out of order.  My boss started to use this against me by making comments like putting a gun to my head.  I could not get any of my peers to admit they heard this in the meeting, so I decided it was time to start recording meetings with my manager.    I recorded him saying that he wanted me to forecast as my life depended on it.  He then said that he would hold my daughter's lives to me forecasting properly, and a separate time he said he was going to put a light in my face and beat me with a rubber hose.  These were on audio.  He was unaware of this, but he continued to deny everything.  He was telling HR he was talking about other things such as hunting.  However, it was noticeably clear in the audiotape he was not truthful and my peers were not speaking out against him.  At this point, my wife, I, and my Doctor decided I need to file a complaint with the EEOC Equal Opportunity Commission.  The problem now was the federal government was shut down as the feds were having a battle over budgets.  I only had a limited time frame you had to file within a certain time from the initial act of discrimination.  I know had filed and about a month later was interviewed by the EEOC.  A month or so later I was on my way to a meeting in another state, and I picked up the rental car, and he was pulled over speeding, and he was drag racing with all his managers in the car.  Again, it was denied by my peers and by him.  It was recorded, however.  He was extremely inappropriate and was never truthful.  He was placing our life in danger the way he was driving and I had great anxiety over this.   He laughed and when we got pulled over I had a panic attack as the officer came to my side of the car.  I had the actual picture of the ticket and he joked about it with everyone at the meeting but nothing was ever done.  

Next, he told me he wanted me to forecast my business like I had a gun to my head, and it better be in the target. I had a peer who witnessed and he said my manager was joking to the HR department.  The EEOC now started requesting documents from the company, and the company was not cooperating.  So, deadlines were being missed, etc.  They continue to miss deadlines for many months and they thumbed their nose at the EEOC.  Finally, I got a right to sue the company letter from the EEOC. At this point, the company stepped forward and said I need to go to mediation as they had sent out an automated e-mail, and I was required to mediate. I could not take them to court.  Things continued out of control, and my boss was now catching on that I had filed with the EEOC on him.  We had a trip coming up, and as that meeting came to a conclusion top management was at the pub waiting as we had a few hours before our flight left.  I was playing an electronic basketball game.  My boss said something, but I could not understand him as I could not hear what he was saying while having a drink at the table and sitting with his boss a VP, and his peers as well as mine.  Then the person who got my employee's job started to get bullied by my boss like we were in a locker room, saying he must wear a skirt and he needs to loosen his bra, etc.  My therapist told me that if the company has a written policy on reporting this as a manager you need to do so or they could terminate me, It was true but not one person at the table backed me again. I did not report this to HR, so I wouldn't violate my ethics as a manager or I would violate company policy and I know I was on the list to watch.   In fact, all ranking officials were required to report him.   Once again, the peers and others said it never happened. It did and was recorded.  Now the EEOC complaint is coming to its final days, and I now have decided to do what my right was with the right to sue the letter take the company to court.  I was told I could only take this company to arbitration. I started to represent myself and trying to meet the date and time guidelines. It was getting more and more difficult as the companies legal team was being extremely difficult to work with.  It is 2019, and all MN staff are called to Minneapolis for a meeting with numerous HR and VP staff except one small area in northern and southern MN.  We were told our company was swapping our department with another company in the same business and we would be done on July 1st. This was approximately the end of April.  The HR department started letting us know the process, and everyone in my office had to reapply for their positions with the new company. I was told I would need to apply for the manager position by the HR department. She also asked me would I like to apply for anything else. I was not aware of other positions, and she did not give me an idea of what they were offering so I was already questioning the hiring process.  I applied with the new company as the manager.  They came to our office for the first visit. I had done up my cover letter and Resume and handed one to four of the top representatives within that company.  I also sent them a thank you note and made them aware of how well our office was doing. I was my manager's top office in many areas from Jan 2019to July 1, 2019.  He would have never told anyone that, but I was, and it was documented.   I then realized that this company had two manager positions open, and I talked with their HR and was told it was two separate jobs. I applied for both. I got an interview with the director of that company.   An internal person who was close to our current  HR was telling me that I was being discussed on phone calls amongst the two companies.  After the first interview, I realized that something was not right with the other companies’ director towards me why I was not fitting in with her.   I still had the EEOC complaint going on and I believe she was aware at that point.  I was concerned and made my current company that this company was sharing information with the other company about my mental health and EEOC complaint.  After a few, days. I  received an e-mail that the other companies’ assistant to the VP he and others wanted to interview me with HR and the MPLS director. I set it up, and I went to the interview; the HR person did not show up, and the director did not show up, and the VP called on zoom.  At this point, I was aware I was out of the picture. The VP kept asking questions on how I was doing so well with the company. He also kept watching his watch so I thought this is not going to materialize.  I then talked with my internal person who was close to HR and again and told him, and he said no way they said you were the one. I think you might be wrong. Later rumors started. It got around that the person my manager picked without interviewing the gal in my office got one position as a manager with the new company and another long time Account Executive with the other company got my current position.  I was on vacation in June taking my daughter to school, and I got a call from my HR department.  I was told they did not plan to move forward with me for employment.  Due to major Depression, I took leave for the remainder of my employment.  The other company was checking to see if I was out as they were sending blank e-mails to my company email to see if they got me out of the office.    In my office, I found out that all staff was offered jobs except two me and one female my boss had issues with for many years, and we were both the oldest by age in the department.   At this point is when everything started. My company made it noticeably clear from a letter from the VP Attorney saying they were marking my folder as I had filed against the company with the EEOC.  At this point, I applied for some different jobs.  I used my boss as a reference as the two companies asked for him. Interestingly, the companies both got me all the way to the offer, and I was dropped from the job and not hired after providing as asked my last managers information. The only thing that was similar to these two compared to others is I gave my boss as a reference.  I reached out to one company and asked if they called him for a reference.  That now, for reasons I do not want to put here came up to be true, he had talked about me to a reference. He had already leaked to the company taking over I had issues and he had told a second company via his cell phone.  He was giving out bad references for me.

I decided at this point, and it is time to hire an attorney.  It is now late 2019, and I had signed a severance with the company notating details of the EEOC complaint.  It was sent three times as they were not accepting the severance with the EEOC on the document. Basically, if I did not sign it I had no income, if I did sign it could jeopardize my case.  It has gone into 2020, and due to a technicality in dates given to me by Charters Attorneys,  when I was representing myself missed a deadline by a minimal amount of time.  I planned to get my attorney fees back and a letter of reference the entire time I didn't want anything but a letter of reference so I could get a job without my boss giving bad references that had been proven.  My attorney charged $290.00 an hour, and I am having mental health issues and anxiety issues and being a small part of a large company, I felt I was doing this for the right reasons. I was the little guy with issues and trying to stand up for myself and for those who are having the same issues but do not speak up.  Some asked why I didn't leave I enjoyed my staff and my job and the company was strong and had great benefits I didn't want to give up and let my boss do this to me.  As of 11/26/2020, I have $25,000 in attorney fees, and due to a technicality, it was tossed out.  Currently, I am planning to appeal the arbitrator’s decision and move to the district court.   I had found a job in this time frame with a company that sold plumbing and heating supplies and got laid off from the pandemic. Then the pandemic hit, and I had to take care of my depression as it had worsened, and I wanted to commit suicide.  I ended up taking classes for twelve weeks.  I was still available for work in the evening during this time. The legal fight was on depositions, etc were being done.  The company had three employment attorneys involved from St Louis.  The money this company has spent on something that is not available to the public or proves anything is simply incredible. The challenge I am having is trying to pay off the debt. I'm fighting for the little people and those with mental health issues and issues with learning and toxic work environments.  By doing this, I could ruin any chance of future employment as I go against a company with 90,000 employees and posting it here. I also have the chance of losing every dollar I have fighting this. What is in it for me?  Nothing, all I am wanting is my legal fees and a written letter of recommendation from the company. I do not want my Job back.  Anything else above legal fees would go to a local charity for this case, which I will give to them as they lost a daughter who had challenges in her life and died they are trying to build a lodge to help others with challenges.  I have now found a job, and it is sufficient.   I have some catching up to do in attorney payments ($25,000), which will take me years with the current state of the world. I will still be fighting this, And my guess is many more dollars will be spent the above is already paid out.  Are you currently working in a stressful job with Mental Health or Learning issues? Are you being asked to sign a severance agreement when you have filed a complaint prior? These all have an out for the company, so talk to an attorney before signing and quickly as time matters.  Today, Thanksgiving Day 2020, I have learned that my Manager and his Manager are done. So, for me, it is a Happy Thanksgiving. I have heard from others they feel he was the most toxic manager the company had and set his team up to fail.  The coincidence of this is timing and the recording provided to the company legal team proving what he said.  Having depression and coming out to others brings up why I:m asking for money.  My anxiety and depression have been extremely overwhelming because of the attorney’s bills.  I am embarrassed to even ask for some help from others, but I cannot continue forward with the case if I do not. As stated, all I am looking to do is cover as much in attorney fees as I can.  Others out there are having probably many more important needs for food, heart transplants, or lost housing, and those are more important than this, but I am doing this for those who are treated poorly like I was. It impacted my life horribly.  As stated, my family almost lost me suicide. I am still seeing a therapist, and I am still working in many areas, but this company's issue has been exceedingly difficult for me and a burden that brings back certain memories of my past.  I am not going to place the company's name in this as that is not the issue here.  The company allowed the VP and Director to treat me poorly but was it their fault to a point, yes but it was hard to prove. Should a company get a bad name for a few bad potatoes in the bag?  I will let you decide that. I'm still a customer of theirs I have a lot of other things that are confidential with the potential for further legal actions including suing the individual manager directly.   Once this is over, I plan to write a blog that will include interesting information, so feel free to keep up with me.  I have outed myself to Mental Health, and it is an imbalance that many will never understand, and there is a stigma of depression that you are not the same as the next person.  Depression is the same as the person who has a heart attack or a broken arm; it just has a much larger stigma than other medical issues.  Learning disabilities are just difficult. My dream was to be a highway patrol, and I could not pass the test, which was difficult for me when I was younger.  I also had a high school coach that told me that due to my learning issues I would never succeed and I should work in a family business. I did not want to do that and I wanted to prove to everyone wrong. I have succeeded, and I know that others will have this same issue as they are let go from companies.   This company and other companies need to take these situations seriously.   I do not want anyone to feel sorry for me I'm a fighter and I have a lot of support behind me.  I know some of you reading this may not agree and that is fine. The true issue here is I have a recording of the treatment and have provided it to the company.   This company could have easily taken care of this be the corporate attorney was in it to spend a tone of money and make her point. She is no longer with the company. If I was to guess this company to this point has spent upward of $50.000 on this case.  I have spent $25,000 and all I wanted was to get a recommendation letter.  To me, the winners here were the attorneys.
The worst part of this is the attorney who is no longer with the company came forward and state she was going to mark my employee file of me going to the EEOC. My main reason for this to tell my story as it is therapeutic for me and helps me deal with what I went through and the threats and toxic environment.  I also was out of work because of the pandemic for 27 weeks as I was laid off from another good company that was a great place to work. It was selling plumbing and heating supplies.  I just went back to work again in the last few weeks and it has been a great thing and a good job.
Those that my manager didn't already tell would have not had an idea of my issues.  I was a pretty happy person and always tried to treat others as I wanted to be treated with little talk of any of my own issues. I kept these to myself.

I know it may come across that I should have quit or I'm can't handle my job or I'm just a complainer.  That is your right until you deal with the issues you do not understand and this person may have treated others much differently.  That is why I had to get audio of the issues to prove my point. Like I said you may not agree and that is your choice.  I do not hold that against you.  I know I'm right in this situation and I will win this.  

If you don't want to give but wanted to read my story that is great. If you want to give something you can mark it anonymous and no one can see it.   I have an extremely wonderful therapist and she has got me through some extremely hard times.  The above is not all-inclusive of all things that have happened. This is just a small amount of a 10-year world of extreme pain and extreme worry and panic.  I still was able to always be in the top percentage of the companies sales and my team was outstanding.  We did everything we could to do a great job. 

I'm still a customer of the company and I'm not mad at the company. I'm mad at my boss, the hr department, and the Vice President of Legal.  They have treated me horribly. I had to set through depositions and be talked to about things in my life that should not be their business.  I had to provide all kinds of medical records that should have had nothing to do with the environment but they dug deep.  I know what a rape victim feels like being the center of attention and did nothing wrong.  Yet I was the one who had to go through a lot of uncomfortable stuff with this issue.  I know have a minimal amount of time to move forward and file an appeal in the district court within the next few weeks.   
Thanks for reading or even giving or even some prayers for me and my family.  Feel free to just send a note on Linkedin and say hey I saw your story.

I have had 10 people reach out with support already.  Also last thing please share this so others know they are not alone.  I have once again asked the CEO and Corporate attorney to settle and I hope they will.   The main thing is the person who was so toxic and setting me up to fail is now going to be gone and out of a job.

I hope you have learned a little more about me and feel free to talk with me about my challenges. I am 100% open about it now.  I know it is hard for some to talk about it. You also can send me a link in a message or even call me or e-mail if you choose.

The money will be strictly used to pay for legal fees.  Anything else will go to a charity.  I do know there are a lot of people in the world that have it worse than I do but this is one thing I can do to get my message out and now save my family from financial issues.

I appreciate your time and reading my story and if you donated $1,00 to $25.00 it all will help.


Thank you and happy holidays
Bill

Donations

  • Alyn Bell 
    • $100 
    • 3 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 10 d

Organizer

William Van Koevering 
Organizer
Sartell, MN
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