Gale Tucker

Constituent of:  

Senator Catherine Young  


Assemblyman Andy Goodell (an HWB Sponsor)

To whom it may concern:

My name is Gale and I am 47 years old. I live and work in Western New York. I have worked in many areas in my lifetime and have excelled at virtually every position I have ever held. I have never received a poor evaluation or been denied a raise, until working in my current position. I feel I posses an excellent work ethic which is demonstrated through the quality of my work, my interaction with my coworkers, the public and also my excellent attendance.

I transferred to my current position in March of 2012. I was at that time, in the process of purchasing a home. The transfer offered another 5 work hours per week which I felt would be beneficial in successfully securing the necessary funding for the home purchase. I had heard that the Director of the new unit was unpleasant and demanding but I could never have imagined what my future work days would be like or how I would be treated in the workplace.

I had very limited training in the new position as the person training me would often have to leave shortly after I arrived to train for her new position. In the new position, I process payments for the application of a state subsidy. I feel it is important to note that fifty percent of the staff who input the client approvals for application of the subsidy where also new to their positions.

There were changes to both state systems for approval and processing of the payments within a couple months of my transfer. These changes slowed the approval as well as the payment processes. These delays lead to a very high call volume, which further slowed the processes. The delays in approval made it extremely difficult for me to build experience, confidence or speed in processing payments with assurance that only approved payments would be made.

My supervisor began to make the following comments to me: “You need to figure it out”, “You need to find a way”, “You need to pick up the pace” and “Life is tough”.   She often appeared to be angry with me as was displayed in her tone, demeanor and gestures. She began to interrupt me to ask questions, to tell me I was not doing something correctly and to add duties that I would be required to perform. She called me to her office one day around this time to say that “I was not a good fit for the unit and I should start looking for other available positions”.

On September 6th, 2012 I was called into a meeting with my supervisor, her backup supervisor and the director. They expressed concerns about my low output of payments and asked how I was spending my time. I presented a breakdown of duties and the time required for each of the duties. They asked what training I felt I needed for improvement. I stated I did not know. I was doing the work as I had been trained to do it.

On Monday September 10th, 2012, I was called to my supervisor’s office at 8:15 A.M. for a “surprise” meeting with her and the backup supervisor. They advised that there had been a senior management meeting on Friday, September 7th, to discuss my low output of payments. I was informed that the consensus at this meeting was that what I had presented to them was excuses and I had offered nothing to justify my low output. My supervisor expressed how frustrated she was as she has tried so hard to help me and all she gets from me is an argument and excuses. I contend that I presented the facts and her “help” was more threatening than ever helpful. She also stated that she could not understand what my problem was as everyone before me has “breezed through it”.

I was told that my numbers needed to increase or there would be disciplinary action. My supervisor also said that she and the backup supervisor were not sure if my breaks were to be taken away, they would let me know. Later that day my supervisor informed me that management felt that given my backlog, I should not want to take breaks.

Since this meeting I have been subject to a relentless personal attack. I have been under constant threat of increment denial, insubordination and disciplinary action. I have been under obsessive scrutiny and also denied union representation. I was also denied 4.25 hours of vacation requested to be home for a new refrigerator delivery, although I had accrued over 150 available hours and had expressed that there was no one else available to be in my home for the scheduled delivery. The stress caused by this action coupled with the constant threats and scrutiny of my work made me physically and emotionally sick for over four days.

I have been required to fill out daily schedules documenting every minute of my day. I have also been required to fill out daily electronic phone logs and forward both, via email to my supervisor at the end of each day. No one else in my position had previously been required to do either one. I have been bombarded with harassing emails critiquing my documentation on both. This feedback has been mostly petty and accusatory in nature. I have hundreds of examples of this feedback.

My supervisor has spent hours counting my minutes and then bullying me with petty and accusatory questions and requests further detail. I have often been required to offer further detail on scenarios that my supervisor was present and involved in. The “feedback” has then been documented in my performance evaluations as my inability to document clearly.

At the conclusion of my performance evaluations, I am told that any comments I have on the evaluation are to be completed immediately. After the second poor evaluation I received I decided to attach some of the critiques from my phone logs and schedules and also to write a rebuttal.   While I wrote my rebuttal, my supervisor came to my office first to tell me that she needs my response within the hour (she was visibly angered) and then later she came in and said that “it is ridiculous that you are spending so much time on this, most people would do this on their own time”.

I am required to document and return all incoming calls the same day they are received. An increased call volume will decrease the amount of available time to process payments. In early July of 2013, I approached my supervisor and expressed concern that the phone volume was increasing. We were not behind in processing payments. My supervisor said that “she didn’t know what to tell me”. I stated that I felt something must be done to handle the call volume so that it doesn’t affect payment processing. My supervisor shrugged her shoulders and said “work faster”. That was the end of the conversation.

In the following weeks the phone volume increased to a point where I was a week out in responding to calls. My supervisor instructed me to spend only two hours per day on the phone work. My supervisor reminded me during my last evaluation that at one point I had been a week behind in returning phone calls. How can I be held accountable for this increase in call volume which I had no control over, or my supervisor’s lack of action?

I have been required to attend countless meetings to “improve my work performance”. The bulk of these meetings have been to review the previously mentioned phone log and schedule questions, with very little or no direction offered on ways to increase payment processing. No reference has been made to the time I am required to spend attending these meetings or the negative impact this time consumption has had on my ability to process more payments.

I have been given two additional evaluations and my increment has also been denied on both, although I have shown continued improvement in all areas of question. It appears that nothing I accomplish or achieve is good enough. I work tirelessly everyday as is documented in my daily work schedules and yet my efforts go unrewarded and unappreciated. I am exhausted. I have no personal life. When I come home from work I am completely drained and capable of only the bare necessities and rest.

I spend most weekends documenting my work experiences in hope of one day presenting the workplace atrocity that is my reality to an entity that may make the madness stop.

I see now that I have been the target of workplace harassment, bullying and discrimination. My supervisor and the director seem to enjoy degrading and demeaning me. They display completely inappropriate behaviors and actions with an air that they are “untouchable”.

The inexcusable way I am treated in the workplace coupled with an overwhelming workload has lead to excessive and undue emotional, psychological, physical and financial stress. I have been concerned for some time about the long and short term effects on my health.

I have been in shock and disbelief regarding the way I have been treated at work. I have been reluctant to file an official, internal claim of harassment and bullying as many coworkers have advised that the policy is not enforced and often it is turned around on to the employee who files it as a false accusation.

I have been further shocked by the fact that no law exists to protect an individual’s right to be treated with dignity in the workplace or to ensure that performance evaluations are to be based on true effort and ability and not based on petty accusation and sabotage.

Thank you for taking the time to share my experience. I would like to request that you envision that it was yourself, a friend or a loved one whose story you have just read. I would also like to request that you contact your Senator and ask for their sponsorship of bill S3863 and also your Assemblymen and ask for their sponsorship of Bill A4965.

Let’s all work together to make the great state of New York the first state to protect its inhabitants rights to work in an environment free from harassment and bullying by enacting the current Healthy Workplace Bills into actual laws.


Gale Tucker

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