Thursday, May 24, 2012

Charity’s coffee machine files harassment complaint against staff

A coffee machine has filed a harassment complaint against Metro’s largest charity. The machine says it has suffered years of abuse from the staff of the Snidely Hospital Foundation.

“They call this a charity. There’s no charity involved when it comes to how they treat me. No one would stand for this,” complained the 10 year old stainless steel and plastic SuperCup Model 182, which calls itself “Bob”.

Bob accuses the Foundation of years of mistreatment.  It says that it is subjected to constant verbal abuse and ridicule. In its complaint, Bob reported that staff often referred to its coffee as “crap” and “really terrible” and often called on Foundation CEO Spooley Brewster to “replace it” or even “throw it out.”

“Some of the things they said about me were just terrible. Day after day, they complained about my work. It got so bad, that I had to seek psychiatric help from the office fridge,” said Bob.

In the complaint, the machine also alleges that Foundation staff often subjected it to humiliation with their office pranks. It says they would sometimes force it to wear a baby bonnet and a diaper when anyone had a baby shower in the lunch room. It was also forced to participate in Christmas parties at the home of the Foundation’s finance director where staff poured various kinds of liquor into it in order to endure the event. Bob, who abstains from alcohol because of its religion, says it tried to object, but could not reason with drunken staff members.

Things got worse when the Foundation introduced new cost cutting measures to keep administrative overhead low. Staff who made too much money were terminated and replaced with employees who made less. Bob says it was forced to endure being a part of a three hour key meeting of managers where they openly discussed whether to replace it with an espresso maker.

“After they decided who to fire, Janet said they should replace me with a new Italian-made espresso machine with all the money they’d saved. They talked about it for 45 minutes right in front of me as if I wasn’t even there!” said Bob. “I couldn’t say anything. I wanted to, but they wouldn’t listen.”

Bob says the last straw was when the CEO spilled her coffee all over the machine and no one would clean it up.

“She dropped her mug all over my workplace and no one – no one at all – would lift a finger to do anything about it. They just sat there as the sticky coffee started to dry on me and they acted like nothing happened.”

Bob consulted a lawyer and then used the hospital’s workplace grievance procedure to file a complaint. The procedure has a code of conduct that commits staff to act “with honest and integrity towards all people, machine-like beings and cats and dogs, but not sharks, wolves and other dangerous creatures.”

The complaint goes to an informal hearing next week, and Bob is optimistic about the outcome.

“For the first time since I joined this organization I finally feel someone is listening to me. It’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, if I had any,” said Bob.

The complaint has already made waves at the Foundation. The fundraising database is also considering making a complaint as is the CEO’s keyboard and stapler who say they have suffered “physical abuse”.