Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

23 December 2008

Don't mess with our sisters

A long running joke in my family is that my younger sister always wanted a big brother. Having a big sister wasn't good enough for her, she wanted someone to protect her, etc. Then I remind her who use to scare away the boy who always teased her from 1st-3rd grade as well as other "big brother" moments. Then again, I did play the big sister role too well most of the time.

Yet when we think of feminism and the women's movement, we think "sisterhood" in the most romantic sense. But there are times when feminism and sisterhood lock hands and amazing shit happens.

Today Rebekah Spicuglia posted a piece about her sister getting fired from a Chili's restaurant:

When my sister, Rachel Spicuglia, a five-year employee of Chili's Restaurant (owned by Brinker International), reported to her manager the escalating sexual harassment she was receiving from the cooks, which had culminated in an assault that morning in the walk-in refrigerator, the manager asked Rachel if the offending employee had gotten a "full cup" when he had grabbed her breasts. Shocked that the manager would joke in such way, Rachel protested that it wasn't funny, but he insisted that it was actually information that he needed to know.

Rachel ended up taking a leave of absence, filing EEOC Charge of Discrimination on August 12, but she continued to work with Chili's to arrange transfer to another store. The transfer was approved, but Rachel's calls to the store manager were never returned, and on December 9, Rachel received a letter from her health insurance, saying that her medical benefits were denied, due to the fact that she was terminated from her job. Two weeks before Christmas, without any warning, and still waiting for the EEOC to review her complaint. Apparently, Chili's was unable to fire Rachel during her leave of absence, but under Georgia law, unlike other states, you can suffer sexual harassment and be fired.

By the time I was on my way home tonight I got an email update -- Rachel got her job back!

*Update: Since this post was published Tuesday morning, Brinker International has contacted Rachel's lawyer, informing him that Rachel's termination was a computer error. Rachel has since been reinstated with Chili's. Check back for further updates.

This was after blogs reposted, tweets went out and emails were sent to Chili's about some of us not eating there anymore or just plain shaming. I'm happy that our collective action on behalf of our sister, Rachel, helped Chili's figure out that there was a computer error. *whew*

VIVA!!

1 comments:

Sorry for the late response, but thanks so much for posting this! What an amazing result, thanks to so many people working in such a quick time. XOX Happy New Year!!