Monday, October 04, 2010

A Pain That I’m Used To Is Almost Done

Just over two years ago I posted A Pain That I'm Used To concerning an uncomfortable situation that had developed with my employer a couple of months after our attack and Jim's stabbing. After all of this time though, we are still dealing with its aftermath although I am hopeful that this will all come to an end fairly shortly. Now, unfortunately, having to go to Small Claims Court to reach some sort of settlement has to occur. This part of the whole ordeal is something I'd like nothing more to avoid, but no such luck. A number of months ago we finally retained a lawyer to help us out, she's been briefed with all details of our situation, all necessary papers have been filed with the court and all necessary statements of defense from our employer have also been filed. Nothing else left to do but show up for court bright and early Friday morning. GULP.

For the short version, we are basically suing our employer for approximately $7500 because they disposed into a large dumpster in front of our apartment building, about twenty or so of our personal possessions and furniture without notifying us in advance. When we attempted to confront them about this matter, we continually received their cold shoulder. They refused to offer us any sort of explanation or apology for their actions against us. We didn't pursue it at the time for a number of reasons. It was so soon after the attack that fear was the overriding emotion driving pretty much every aspect of our lives. We didn't realize that we could actually do something about it. We couldn't afford legal representation for this matter two years ago. And so on…Two years on, our situation has changed on all fronts so once we discovered that we could, indeed, pursue them to attempt to recover our costs for this debacle, we decided we'd be fools for not moving forward. Although we did have to give our lawyer a $2000 retainer, if we are successful then all costs will have to be paid for by our employer.

For the long version, the following is the text of the original entry from August 2008:

Some things stay the same; some things never see to change. As the months pass by since Jim's attack and its savagery seems to fade from some people's minds, the more difficult it seems to become for us regarding our work situation. Immediately after it happened, everyone from the office staff here in London right up through to the VP of Operations in Toronto couldn't get to us fast enough with promises for our physical, emotional and financial security. Now that three months have passed since this incident almost all of their promises seemed to have fallen by the wayside. The only thing that I am not really worried about – yet – is our physical safety. We still have a beautiful roof over our head which we do not have to pay for as well as having all of our utilities looked after. Right now that is all that we seem to have. This fact is disturbing to say the least.

All of our forms were to have been filed and completed, etc. for a Workman's Compensation claim for what happened to Jim and any forms that we were responsible for have been submitted. When I last spoke to the head of Human Resources of the company about a week ago, she mentioned that the company would no longer be paying us but that WSIB would be taking over from now on. Now when I spoke to WSIB earlier today, they advised us that our claim had been rejected because our employer had not submitted a series of forms. Fit to be tied at the moment mostly because I wasn't able to actually speak to someone at WSIB but had to leave messages on two separate answering machines there. GRRRR. Of course when I called through to Toronto, I could only reach voice mail in the HR department. Oh how very, very typical.

I wouldn't be quite so insane about all of this if something awful hadn't happened here in London with my Regional Manager almost three weeks ago. Shortly after Jim's attack, we moved into our current apartment because no one in my family was feeling terribly secure living on the ground floor of the apt building. Now since Jim was still recovering from near life threatening injuries, he obviously was unable to move any of our furniture or stuff up here. Naturally, one of my daughters managed to break her arm barely a week after Jim's attack so she was also unable to offer much help or assistance. That left just me and Sara who barely weighs a 100 pounds on a good day! Naturally, it was tough carrying some of the heavier stuff for us so a few items were left behind in our old unit. I advised the office of this and apparently it wasn't much of an issue until the time came when they needed our old unit.

The weekend after I was notified that they were going to need our old unit, I moved everything except for one couch out of it. This left behind couch was a monster to move so I had to leave it. When I talked to my boss she said that was no problem that she would get some of the maintenance guys to help. I waited for a number of days and no one came to help. One day Sara's boyfriend was over and we managed to get it upstairs and into the hall of the fourth floor. Could not get it into our unit no matter what I tried. Finally the head of maintenance showed up to help me but no matter what he couldn't get it in either. This couch just also happened to be near brand new. We had had it only a month. Looked like we were going to have to trash it which was a darn shame. Because I had been waiting to get this couch inside before I moved a few more of our other articles in, I stashed some of our stuff in an empty unit which just happened to be located directly beside our current one. This is also standard practice if you happen to be a Building Manager of an apt building – you tend to take advantage of empty units and store stuff in them on a regular basis. This is done by near everyone and is not remotely unusual.

I had mentioned to the office about this furniture being there in the empty unit also but for some reason my Regional Manager decided to take it upon herself to have the contents of this unit emptied into the dumpster out front of our building. There was a lot of stuff of value there also. Why she didn't mention that she was going to do this so we had a chance to move it into our unit or get rid of it ourselves, is a mystery to us. Even after talking to her about it, she had nothing to say regarding her reasoning. I am so sick of everyone telling me that whenever I need help while Jim is recovering to just let them know and then when the actual time arrives, nothing at all. It is beyond insulting. What is really terrible about the whole thing is that when we went to check the dumpster not all of our stuff made it there. Any of our electronic equipment seemed to be missing. When we asked about this, we initially got a whole bunch of different answers until someone obviously started to feel a little bit guilty cause somehow some of this stuff was located – sitting in the paralegals office getting ready for her to take home!

Excuse me? How awful is this? You're stealing from someone not only that you work with, but also from someone who has already had a series of horrific stuff happen to them, someone who's interests that you in your position should be guarding. Insane. I wasn't going to get the police involved but on our last visit to the specialists we mentioned what had happened and one of the doctor's took it upon herself to call the police. I guess that she is a fairly good friend of the detective handling the attack. The police feel we have a fairly strong case for theft, etc. So far I have given a statement but I haven't had them approach anyone in the office yet regarding this although after today, I plan on giving the go ahead. I've also given everyone enough time to return all of our electronics and even though I've received assurance that we'll get them back, we still have not.

Following is a list of the items that we ended up losing – that I can remember so far because I know that there is more but probably won't know something is missing until I go to get it.

  • antique sewing table w/antique Singer sewing machine
  • walnut dresser w/five dresser drawers
  • all components to construct our bed frame i.e. slats/foot board
  • Sklar Pepplar arm chair
  • creme coloured leather love seat
  • creme coloured leather arm chair
  • 20″ tv set
  • 17″ flat screen computer monitor
  • 17″ computer monitor
  • dvd player
  • large collection of various types of cables for use with computers
  • digital camera w/case
  • laptop computer w/leather case
  • collection of electric helicopters plus their accessories
  • all of our winter coats – four individuals for a total of eight coats
  • six fabric laundry sacks of clothing primarily Jim's winter clothes
  • all of Sara's bed linens including comforter, three double sized blankets, set of curtains, sheets, pillows
  • two extra-large Rubbermaid storage containers w/hinged lids w/contents removed
  • misc. hand held tools
  • two basic desk chairs

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