Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful

One empowered woman's struggle against the world
Friday July 21st 2017

A New Experience

mom says

I haven’t commented much on my daily life because well it has been kind of boring filled with numbers and calculations. I know what you are thinking, how can that be boring? But trust me it isn’t all glitz and glamor or even a little glitz and glamor. I started on a new experience which isn’t really exciting but definitely new and interesting for me.

The new experience is one of negotiation. Today, TSA and I started tentative settlement talks. I had to come up with an opening number and it isn’t as easy as you think. There are numerous schools of thought on how to go about it and how to negotiate it out after that initial number is put out there. I wished it to be simple and maybe even convinced myself somewhat it would be simple but truth is it wasn’t.

I don’t believe the judicial system was set up to be a lottery. That actually is not just my belief that is the law but yet daily we hear of settlements that far exceed what it would take to “make a person whole” from the wrong done to them. That is what the judicial system was meant to do, make people whole, put them back to where they would be had the wrong not occurred. The judicial system being used as some kind of lottery seems to happen more and more and the theory of make a person whole is more on paper than the reality. I believe that is destructive to our judicial system and ultimately to us who have to bear the burden of higher insurance rates, loss of funds that could be used for the community, a rise in commercial prices to offset the cost of these lawsuits and more.

Settlements seem to be more about a game of negotiation skills and who is better than about making a person whole. What appears to happen is person asks for 10x {dramatic for effect} what reasonably would make them whole because it is automatic that the other side is going to offer 10x less than what would reasonably make them whole. So now we have this gap in the middle that is fought over by both sides. Each side wanting as much of the gap in their favor as possible and the theory of what would make a person whole seems to go out the window. It really seems to become about who can negotiate well enough to keep as much of the gap in their favor. This is so contrary to the law that it really sullies it and is creating this alternate reality of what the judicial system and Congress ever intended.

Damages

The damages I am actually seeking relate mostly to wages and benefits, I didn’t really seek emotional distress compensation, which I will explain why further along. The back pay part is easy to determine because I was terminated on a date and suffered to the current date. What has been more difficult is this concept of front wages. If I were older it would be easier but as I am younger, it makes it a little harder. Should TSA have to pay forever if they are found to be in the wrong? Who can say with certainty that they would keep a particular job for another 20 some odd years? So what is realistic and appropriate? I do know what my original plans were before I was terminated so I based it on those and now that is open to negotiation.

I also looked at what it would take to make me whole as of today without consideration of the future earnings being affected. If I hadn’t been terminated three years ago, where would I reasonably be today and what would it take to put me there. The number differs from just looking at wages and what I would have worked to had I not been terminated so that is open to negotiation.

Once I could even come up with an answer then it became about how much to ask for in order to play this negotiation game. You can’t just say this is what I would like and would make me whole as your starting number, oh goodness no that would be too easy. If you do that then you start out at a disadvantage and you start out already being in a position to accept far less than what you originally wanted or believed would make you whole. It is one thing to make concessions for the sake of settling but it is another to make concessions for the sake of negotiation game.

I got my number and then I had to take into consideration the odds of going to trial, the odds of winning the trial, the cost associated with going to trial, whether I would appeal if I lost or whether they would appeal if they lost, time and aggravation and just a slew of other things. Then finally you have to add to that number negotiating room so you can play the game and still reasonably come close to what it is believe would make you whole.

All kinds of crazy, if you ask me. I would have loved to just have put out the number I believe would make me whole and why I believe it is reasonable and justifiable. Then have a discussion over the merits and the basis for the amount. If the other side can provide a reason or justification for why the amount isn’t reasonable or justifiable then discuss it and resolve it. But nope we have to do this back and forth thing first even though at the end of the day it will most likely come down to a discussion over the merits and the basis for the amount. It has to at some point unless of course what I am asking for is already less than what TSA has determined they would be willing to pay to settle. Then maybe just maybe we could dispense with all the crazy and just go about settling.

Emotional Distress

I have been asked by quite a few people why I didn’t ask for damages relating to emotional distress as they have seen the distress personally. I can’t go into great detail but it is pretty common knowledge that I am suing for retaliation for EEO participation. I think any person that suffers from employer retaliation could reasonably make a claim for emotional distress. Retaliation was made illegal because it has the effect of discouraging people reporting violations of law or standing up for or supporting someone else who is being violated. I had one lawyer suggest that it couldn’t be retaliation because I was still suing, so it clearly didn’t meet the standard on discouraging me from participating. I found that to be a horrible assertion. I didn’t sue for emotional distress and for a moment I thought I should have just to prove how horrible that kind of assertion was.

In order to prove emotional distress you have to explain it. You can’t just say, “I am distressed”. I didn’t and don’t want to admit in open court that I am no longer the person I was when this ordeal started. That these particular events have had a profound effect on me emotionally, physically, ethically and morally. I didn’t want to admit that I am terrified of getting another job. I go out and look and apply and need a job but am filled with so much relief when I am told I am not hired. I have felt guilty for feeling relieved because I know my kids have suffered by me not having a job and it is wrong of my to be relieved that I can’t get hired. I am terrified of what will happen if I see discrimination or harassment or retaliation occurring or if it happens to me. I am terrified I will turn a blind eye to it rather than say a word and risk what has already happened to me happen again. It is not who I was three years ago but I am afraid it is who I am now and I just don’t want confirmation of that. I don’t want to know for a fact that I would let someone else suffer, not help and just walk away and leave them on their own or that I would just quit rather than say a word. I don’t want to sit in court and have a callous lawyer question my integrity, ethics and morals over this issue. I am having a difficult enough time on my own with those questions.

If someone had told me three years ago that I would be where I am today and feel the way I do and would even consider not helping or not standing up for myself, I would have told them they were crazy. But it is where I am so that lawyer telling me because I continued to sue after I lost everything, this time, proves there was no retaliation is nuts. I am ashamed that I feel the way I do and that I come close to a full on panic attack waiting to hear back about a potential job that I need and when I am told no I am relieved. Retaliation goes far beyond just sleepless nights, excess stress, not eating well, depression and all the other ailments claimed to fall under emotional distress. It doesn’t just discourage, it can change who a person is ethically and morally. I would have never believed that had someone told me that but I am living it so I know it true. I am not a weak person either and have always been strong, stood up for myself, my kids and others and have had support doing so. I can only imagine the profound effect it would have on someone who isn’t very strong or doesn’t have support.

I could have sought damages for emotional distress but no amount of money will fix the way I feel. No amount of money will reverse the damage that has been done. I see no need to put myself through the process of proving the emotional damage exist when it will have no effect on the damage itself and could make it worse. Everyone sees it differently and has to do what is right for them and I have to do what is right for me. Money won’t make this better, them admitting they were wrong or being found guilty won’t make this better. The only thing that could make it better is if it had never happened. Maybe, possibly, in time I will feel differently and maybe I wouldn’t turn a blind eye or walk away but right now I am 99% certain I wouldn’t help and I would walk away and that terrifies me because that isn’t the person I was or the person I want to be. I don’t want to go through the process in court to prove it but for a moment, I took pause and considered that maybe I needed to correct that lawyer’s asinine view and make sure the courts didn’t see that as right in any way. Three years ago, I wouldn’t have even paused it would have been automatic that I would fight to keep that kind of belief from becoming real but I am not the person I was then. It was just a pause and then it didn’t take much for me to let it go.

That scares me and that is the effect retaliation has and that is why Congress made it illegal and wrote the law the way they did. It isn’t about did it stop a person from reporting or pursuing an allegation of civil rights violations, it is about could it dissuade a reasonable person from doing. I am living proof it could dissuade and it has dissuaded because right now, I am 99% certain I wouldn’t say a word but it didn’t stop me from pursuing this claim. The claim I have already suffered for and lost everything for, there is nothing left for them to take or do to me so no reason to drop it now. But a new job, a life rebuilt and being in a better place, I wouldn’t risk again because the price is far to high a price to pay. I despise that I feel that way and I pray in time that will change and I can get back the person I was 3 years ago but I just don’t know if that is even possible.

To The Future

The real settlement talks come tomorrow so that is where I will be all day. If it doesn’t settle then we wait for a judge to rule on the summary judgment motion. Depending on that ruling will determine where it goes next, either appeal or trial. It would be nice to settle tomorrow but the reality is I have been through the worst already. I went through months of not knowing if I could pay my bills and the real threat of losing my home and my vehicle. That is all over now. I paid off my car and have two small loans to pay back to family that helped me and then I will be in a place where TSA could drag this out forever and it won’t affect anymore. It is a good place to be and I am glad I stuck with it and didn’t give up (trust me I considered it several times). If TSA has offered to settle 6 months ago, I would have settled for almost nothing because I was that desperate but I am not anymore and it feels good to know that I am not in that position and I can’t have the situation they created used against me for their benefit.

Well I need to get back to getting organized for tomorrow, what fun, not.  Then I need to get through tomorrow.  After that, I have some plans for decorating for Christmas, have some articles to get formatted and posted to the site and I get to start working on my magazine.  The magazine idea is really exciting to me and it is something I have been wanting to do since January, so a year in the making. It would be great to be able to start a new year with a great new venture.  This year has had a great deal of lows compared to the highs so I am hoping next year will be the exact opposite.

momwine glass

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