Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

From Angela Smithson:

To My Fellow Human Being:

My name is Angela Smithson, proud, strong and loving mother of a beautiful biracial 7 yearold Cullen Deshawn Smithson who was a victim of a racial slur on 4/20/05 at my employer Amica Insurance’s ‘bring your child to work day’ by a coworker.

I am not asking for advice or money just that you go to his petition that I created as I had no other alternative as my employer chose to side with the racist employee and retaliate against me because I stood up for what is right but most importantly I stood up for my son!

When I talk about retaliation I have clear proof as I was written up 2 times in 2 weeks once for questioning their investigation and the second time for my petition. In fact the second time was my final warning they said if I ‘continue to disrupt their workplace I will be terminated immediately’ and that I can no loger post anything on the web with that being said I see that this statement is open ended statement and I expect they will be terminating me very soon and I will be unemployed not for being late, poor attendance, unprofessional behavior, inability to perform or poor customer service but for requesting to file a complaint because my 7 year old son was hurt by the ‘n’ word and that they are clearly violating civil rights and now attempting to take a way my freedom of speech illegally!

My goal is to have 20,000 people sign this petition as a way to bring together concerned individuals like yourself to form a united front against racism.

Racism in any form against any person for what ever reason is wrong racism stretches far behind black and white. You may use the word ni**er yourself but please remember this was a little boy. I can take and have taken racist remarks in my lifetime being called a nig**r lover and such and turned the other cheek and just chalked this up to ignorance but this is my son I can not turn the other cheek here.


Please pass along this email to as many people possible as this is not an attempt to harm my employer or the employee in question rather it is a way to kick start my son’s healing as we read the comments together every night. He no longer cries that he is black he is proud of himself and his mother, He said to me the other day,’Mommy I know you love me you know why? Because you fight for me!’.
Thank you for your time and your anticipated cooperation. I apologize if you all ready received this email however I am a mother who is in an intense struggle and rage attempting to protect my son. I have sent thousands of emails and cannot humanly remember all who have previously been contacted.

One comment

  1. I sympathize with you and wish you well, but I think your battle is likely to be a losing one. Things to think about:

    1) You have to decide whether it is worth keeping the job based on the income it provides and competing alternatives on the job market and the ease of finding alternative employment. If you need the cash, on a gambler’s throw, you can go see your boss, say you were going thru some tough personal problems, offer to drop all complaints and ask to start over with a new slate. This might work if your work record offers proof of good intentions, and you are sincere, and the people you are dealing likewise are decent folk. If not- step 2.

    2) Your Internet petition will do little good, and only serves to give them another club to beat you with. Indeed by publicizing the details you have given away your legal strategy that can be used down the road. Their internal “investigation” is not concerned with resolving the situation, but in getting your backup documentation to the company lawyer so he can pick it apart later and rebut your claims. They will accomplish this by any means possible, including false accusations, bogus documents and bogus witnesses. People whom you confided in, will be intimidated and “turned”. In essence, you are giving away your legal strategy before the real battle has started. If things have gone too far for #1, your best bet is to negotiate a separation settlement (references, severance and cut your losses). If not move to step 3

    3) Internet petitions or written appeals are
    of little value. They only serve to give away your
    evidence and strategy. If steps 1 and 2 are
    beyond reach, you should IMMEDIATELY file an
    EEOC complaint. This sets up the legal ground for
    a lawsuit later. Stop writing the bosso r soliciting
    petitions. It is all useless. File with the EEOC
    for your area directly NOW, not the local or state
    “Human Relations” bodies which only serve to take
    your evidence and turn it over to your opponents.

    Frame your EEOC complaint in terms of race, gender
    or what have you. List the incidents known to both
    parties, but hold something back like witness
    statements. The important thing is to file, which
    creates the legal ground for suing later, and
    allows you to argue retaliation based on youir
    EEOC complaint. Indeed the complaint may
    help give you leverage for a more favorable
    separation agreement. The EEOC has a 2 year backlog.
    They ain’t gonna be spending much time on your case.
    After you file- clam up. Stop writing, and
    stop talking. Remember the more you write and talk
    the more info they can harvest to rebut your
    case before a judge. Keep quiet and start gathering
    evidence of other discriminatory activities-
    including documents showing disparate treatment,
    witness statements etc. Keep a copy of everything
    and shut the **&** up as you do. Make preliminary
    contact with an attorney so you are ready to
    go for Phase 4.

    4) If you havent been fired yet they will have
    received the EEOC notice to which they must reply
    in a certain number of days. They may offer to
    “investigate” the case more internally. Use this
    moment to either appeal for a fresh start or
    negotiate a favorable severance/separation agreement.
    If that doesnt work, by all means stop talking
    and writing. Remember, they want to harvest as much
    of your evidence as possible. Tell them you need
    mnore time to gather evidence, or you cant
    concentrate etc etc. Say you’ll get back to them
    but do notoutright refuse to cooperate. Pretend
    to go along, but say you need more time, you only
    want to concentrate on work for now and let the
    EEOC handle it, etc. You will come under greater
    pressure- more scrutiny, false accusations, etc.
    Stay strong. Quietly gather as much paper as
    possible to support your case. They may do
    things like put a keystroke logger on your
    computer to gather more dirt against you. Be
    cautious. Work to rule. Hide and screen your
    movements. Put your copies in your purse not
    where they can fnd them. Leave false trails.
    It is here that the real battle has begun-
    extending into Phase 5.

    5) Offer to settle or reconcile along “new slate
    lines” in 1 and 2 above. If no dice, the clock
    will be ticking. You will be fired shortly.
    Before you are, clean out your office of personal
    items ahead of time, to avoid the embarassment of
    having security escort you out with a boxload
    of stuff. You should have already been answering
    some want ads. Leave quietly. You should already
    have boxes of evidence to bolster your case,
    including tangential items, like evidence
    of wrong doing elsewhere, fraud etc. The
    battle gets harder now in Phase 6.

    6) So there you are unemployed. Go down to the
    Unemployment office fill out their forms and get
    some money. Now you have a choice. You can wait 2
    years for the EEOC to do something. Most likely they
    will say they are unclear about the case, and
    offer to give you a “Standing to Sue” Letter.
    This letter can be obtained 90 days from your filing
    (the times may have changed). Review EEOC procedures.
    A standing to sue letter means that you can sue
    your former employer for discrimination. You
    must decide whether you want to go this road.
    You will have to pay a lawyer, and your case will take
    approximately 2 years to fight. Your lawsuit
    should, within the confines of youe case, allege
    everything under the sun, because your opponents
    will file a Motion to Dismiss in reply. You must
    get past this first hurdle or your case is essentially
    dead. Throw in gender, race, whatever.. Your
    opponents will be doing the same, doctoring or
    hiding documents, intimidating witnesses,
    and inventing conversations that never happened.

    An attorney willing to really fight a racial discrim.
    EEOC case is hard to find, because they are
    difficult cases. All a company or agency has to
    show is some non-racial reason for your treatment.
    Sexual harassment is much easier to base a case on,
    contrary to popular myth of blacks walking away
    with multi million dollar discrims settlements.
    It ain’t happening. The burden of proof is on you,
    and they will be pulling out all the stops to crush
    you. Stay calm. Be sure your attorney breaks down his fees.
    Many quote a fee but leave all “expenses” to you
    like filing ocsts, costs of court reporters,
    transportation etc. Attorneys can be slippery.
    Get a clear idea of the costs in writing. If
    rhy will work on contingency fine, but many
    contingency arrangements have you paying all the
    “expenses” while your lawyer still gets his
    40-50% contingency cut. Watch your back and
    keep behind your attorney to fight.

    7) Decide on a stragegy. You could aim for an ultra quick settlements. Have your guy sit down with the other lawyer or even you and hammer out a quick figure. Figuring you have 2 years of hassle ahead, a few thousand quickly out the door might be worth it. If not, another option is to aim to settle, but make it as painful as possible for your former employer. Drag them into lengthy multi-hour depositions. Drag in the company president and force him to sit for 2 hours of questioning. Subpoena very document you can think of. Make it ugly, then offer to settle. Again, it wil also be a painful process for you, fighting while seeking employment at the same time. Consider getting out early if the cash-out or settlement ratio is still in your favor. The longer you go on the more expensive it gets, and indeed this is what your opponents aim to do, to exhaust you financially and mentally. It will be a harsh 2 year battle. Are you prepared to fight and is your lawyer prepared to fight ior is he just doing the minimum while you get saddled with “expenses”? It gets harder after after this point.

    to be continued..

    Comment by Lakesha — 9/18/2005 @ 11:49 pm

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