Kevin Hayes Needs Your Help Standing Up To Wal-Mart's Civil Rights Tyranny
Urgent request from disabled Portland man needing help, support and assistance with his stance against the civil rights tyranny of Wal-Mart. I'm currently without the benefit of legal counsel, and trial is scheduled to begin October 25, 2011. I'm left to represent myself, and I need help. Please don't let me become yet another victim of this ruthless corporate giant. Wal-mart is the definition of corporate greed and avarice, and they clearly represent what is wrong in corporate America.
I was employed by Wal-Mart at their Wal-Mart Distribution center #6037 located in Hermiston, OR from August 31, 2004 through December 4, 2007 when I was in an act of retaliation I was terminated in connection with my continual refusal to accept the illegal discriminatory treatment as a condition of my employment. I was diagnosed with Cushings, a disabling condition at the age of ten. I'm 39 years of age currently. I have multiple other disabilities including "morbid obesity" that stem from the Cushings. I also suffer with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), depression and anxiety. Through out the course of my employment I was subjected to a pattern and practice of discrimination and harassment on the basis of my morbid obesity and OCD by multiple Wal-Mart employees and management which resulted in a hostile work environment. I made exhausting attempts to resolve this with in Wal-Mart, but they instead elected to make me litigate my civil rights. For me a disabled individual it has been a daunting task taking this stance against Wal-Mart, especially with their unlimited financial resources and political influence. In my opinion, Wal-Mart is the definition of corporate greed and avarice. I need help standing up to them.
I require immediate legal representation in my workplace discrimination litigation filed in January 2009 and currently set for trial on October 25, 2011 in United States District Court for the District of Oregon, Kevin Hayes v Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., et al, case # 3:09-CV-47-HA with the honorable Judge Ancer Haggerty presiding. I'm currently pro se, and without the benefit of counsel. There is a status hearing at 1:45pm on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 in Judge Ancer Haggerty's courtroom #13A. Where I'm certain that Wal-Mart's attorneys will yet again attempt to get my case dismissed with prejudice. I'm in need of any and all assistance with my civil rights litigation. I've been unemployed since Wal-Mart terminated me in December 2007. Neither I nor my mother, Rose Nye have a legal background, nor much education beyond a high school diploma. Wal-Mart on the other hand has three very skilled, high powered attorneys of record, not to mention their in house counsel to rely on. I could use the support of anyone that could help me prepare my case for trial.
My civil rights complaints and the litigation are not baseless. The importance of continuing forward despite the odds was affirmed by the unimaginably unjust experiences I had with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). The ruse of an investigation they conducted was strikingly similar to the alleged internal Wal-Mart investigations. Both BOLI and Wal-Mart alleged to investigate, blatantly ignored the evidence, and asserted claims of lack of findings of any wrong doing. Even though I was wrongfully terminated during the BOLI investigation, no efforts were made to get Wal-Mart to reinstate me. Nor with all the evidence was there any form of conciliation attempted. As some sort of "professional courtesy" Wal-Mart's attorney's were even allowed to send part of my final pay through BOLl, all the while falsely alleging that the three checks were simply reissues of checks that had been allegedly mailed to me in December 2007 registered/certified, and how I'd just simply failed to cash them. One of the three checks was clearly not a reissue as the W-2 I received in February 2009 proved. However, none of this mattered to BOLI investigators. Something was seriously amiss within the Oregon BOLI office of which was under the direction of Labor Commissioner, Brad Avakian. Recent media reports allege that Avakian had serious financial issues that all went away shortly after he became Labor Commissioner. All of which took place during the same time period. However, I'm not saying that there was any collusion or wrong doing. What I'm saying is that the timing looks awfully suspicious to me, and in light of what I experienced within BOLI, I believe it merits investigation. It might turn out to be that the Oregon BOLI office is incapable of dealing with the antics of corporations the size of Wal-Mart, and that Attorney General, John Kroegers office idea to take over the civil rights investigations where they involve large corporations like Wal-Mart merits action. No one can argue that Wal-Mart with it's vast resources has the money and power to influence. However, I'm not saying that this was the case. Whether there is/was corruption or not in the very least BOLI did not do the job it was entrusted to. Though what happened within the BOLl process discouraged me, it did not make me give up my pursuit of justice. The evidence speaks for itself, and as such despite the alleged no findings of BOLI, the following 14 Claims remained for trial after summary judgment:
· ADA disability discrimination
· ADA disability hostile work environment
· ORS 659A disability discrimination
· ORS 659A disability hostile work environment
· ORS 659A retaliation
· Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
· 42 U.S.C. s1981 discrimination
· 42 U.S.C. s1981 retaliation
· 42 U.S.C. s1981 hostile work environment
· Title VII retaliation
· Title VII race/religious discrimination
· Title VII race/religious hostile work environment
· ORS 659A race/religious discrimination
· ORS 659A race/religious hostile work environment
One would assume that as a Jew I would have the assistance and support of my Jewish community, and as such would not be in the position of having to beg and plea for help. Countless have asked me why I am fighting this battle alone, where are they, and why have they not come to my side especially since both social action and social justice are a core part of Judaism. Unfortunately, the answer appears to be as simple as the fact that Wal-Mart had the resources necessary to not only engage a high profile phillantrophic Jewish run law firm, Lane Powell to represent them, but apparently selected the one that would have the most negative impact on me. In doing so, it has literally rendered the Portland Jewish community both powerless and ineffectual to do anything to assist me without coming up against the monetary interests of the greater Portland Jewish Community and some of its members. You see, the wife of the President and CEO of the law firm, Wal-Mart selected is as I understand, herself the President and CEO of local Mittleman's Jewish Community Center (MJCC) and the Portland Jewish Academy (PJA). The interconnectedness of the Jewish community has the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland (JFGP) and the Portland Jewish Review newspaper's interests all tied together with the MJCC and the PJA. Couple that with the fact that I am just a poor, unaffiliated Jew, living on the east side of the Willamette River, who did not grow up around here, and it has left me a disabled Jew standing up to the anti-Semitism and civil rights violations of Wal-Mart without any kind of support from the Jewish community, moral or otherwise. Whereas the JFGP and their community relations director, Robert Horenstein will interject themselves immediately into New Seasons issues around a proposed boycott of Israeli products by a divestment group, no one has been willing to come forward to help me in over 4 years. This in spite of the fact, that Wal-Mart was responsible for documented comments and unwarranted, inappropriate discussions within my workers compensation claim file in regards to my being a Jew. A claim file, that Wal-Mart then actually made part of public record as "Exhibit J" in the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI) case file: OS-EM-OS-061006-71474. "Exhibit J" also contains evidence that the comments within it attributed to Wal-Mart's human resource manager, "Woody" actually incited others to then not only sleuth into my hospital records for evidence of my being a Jew, but to then render opinions. The documentation is irrefutable. In the past 4 years it has been shown to many within the Portland Jewish Community, and yet Wal-Mart's anti-Semitism remains unaddressed. One's race and religion have nothing to do with one's workers compensation claim, unless apparently you work for Wal-Mart. This anti-Semitic documentation is as clear as any of the advertisements on the sides of Seattle buses that they took action on. It is as readable as the newspaper comments at Reed College, that they also took action on. Yet no one within the Jewish Community is willing to speak out against Wal-Mart, and it isn't for lack of knowledge about this, nor for the lack of opportunity to do so. Nor does anyone in the Jewish Community apparently take issue with a high profile Jewish run law firm defending Wal-Mart on charges that include anti-Semitism. Even though such representation affords Wal-Mart a false perception of innocence. The incidents documented in BOLI Exhibit J are only one small peice of a much larger body and pattern of discrimination that continued throughout my employment in relation to my race, religion and disability. Co-worker's were told that I was not disabled nor Jewish, and just wanted special treatment. I was subjected to continual acts of "demoralization", "deligitimization", "different standard", and the "denial of rights and priveleges" in connection with my race, religion and my disability. Nothing says anti-Semitism any more clearly than those such actions directed at a Jew. Ironically, while the leaders in the Portland Jewish community choose to look the other way and do nothing to help me, they launch campaigns hoping to get the unafilliated Jews of the East side to affiliate. I would have to ask JFPG's President, Marc Blattner why the unaffiliated would want to affiliate in a community that falls this short on both social action and social justice. Where social justice, a tenet of Judaism takes a back seat to the vast monetary resources and influence of Wal-Mart Having the Jewish community look the other way is as disheartening as it was for me to discover the evidence that representatives of Wal-Mart's home office knowingly stood by and allowed the violations of my civil rights to continue for over 11 months until I was finally able to get their attention. To which, said Wal-Mart home Office representatives then pretended to know nothing of my complaints, all the while pretending to launch a complete and thorough investigation into them. What a farce that was. I don't expect that it will be much different within the Portland Jewish Community. I expect that those who should have done something will now want to pretend to not have known, or somehow been misinformed, etc. Ironically, my mother, Rose Nye is affiliated with the synagogue in which both Horenstein and Blattner are members, and it's Rabbi is even the President of the Oregon Board of Rabbis. My mother has been very vocal over the past four years in trying to get assistance with my civil rights litigation against Wal-Mart, and has shown BOLI "Exhibit J" as documented evidence. Though I don't believe that we had the opportunity to speak with Blattner, we approached Robert Horenstein on numerous occasions seeking his assistance. Perhaps, if she was a wealthy, influential Jew, who grew up in this community we would've merited the support of the community. What we are, are two individuals who happen to be both Jewish and disabled, and we are committed to social action and social justice for all. We aren't willing to step aside to protect the interests of the wealthy. If even the rights of one of us is suppressed, it endangers the rights of all of us. Though we have given up on finding any support within the Portland Jewish community, we have not given up on continuing to stand up against the civil rights tyranny of Wal-Mart. It would be unconscionable to do otherwise. I will never back down. I will never sell out. I will continue to be liberal in my politics, and not ashamed of my income, social, and or disabled status.
I am not just standing up for myself. My civil rights litigation is in the interests of the disabled workers everywhere. It is likewise, in the best interest of the American worker, especially those who have little choice but to work for Wal-Mart. I believe that the outcome of my case is important to others. If my litigation and other potential legislative efforts that could spring forth from it can get Wal-Mart to change their stance on employee civil rights then countless of other individuals of disability, and protected classes will be spared what I've endured. It will give purpose and meaning to the past seven years of my life.
The overwhelming despair that I feel as I stand alone against these ruthless corporate giants is indescribable. To me, Wal-Mart has demonstrated a lack of common decency, compassion, and signs of any humanity. Apparently they lack even a trace of a moral compass. They do not care what toll being forced to needlessly litigate my civil rights takes on me or my family. Thanks to Wal-Mart, I've been left a broken man, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and financially. My mother has had to sell off cherished possessions in order for us to survive. My bother Clay Hayes, a long term Wal-Mart DC#6037 employee was finally driven out this spring after at least 10 years in their employ. The workplace environment was intolerable, and he could no longer stomach working for a company that preached equal opportunity and accountability, but refused to keep their promises, and/or take accountability for their actions. Because of the discrimination tolerated in that Wal-Mart workplace towards his wife, (me) his brother, and other co-workers of whom were all individuals of disability he could no longer justify working for them. Wal-Mart management like to beat their chests in mandatory start up meetings, and let everyone know how the only one that is going to win in civil rights litigation's are the attorneys. Wal-Mart has demonstrated an inability to do what is right on their own volition, and they certainly don't believe that anyone can make them. Wal-Mart likes to give the false perception that they do not discriminate against the disabled, or any other protected class, but the reality is quite different. My case of disability discrimination was not an isolated case in that Wal-Mart workplace.
I'd trusted and I wanted Wal-Mart to keep its promises to provide equal opportunity employment with a workplace environment that showed respect for the individual, and did not tolerate any form of discrimination, harassment, retaliation and inappropriate contact of any kind. I trusted them to afford me the same rights and privileges of employment afforded to those they deem worthy. However, both the actions and in actions of Wal-Mart's management at all levels continually reduced their word and promises to mere rhetoric. To me both their actions and inactions conveyed beliefs that were in actuality opposite of their promises. It was disheartening to say the least, how the Wal-Mart "culture" can infect so many otherwise seemingly decent individuals, especially one's of protected class status' themselves, even getting them to participate in, and/or ignore the violations of others civil rights. Unchecked, the Wal-Mart "culture" poses a serious threat to the civil rights of the American worker. It has been suggested that calls and e-mails to Wal-Mart's current CEO, Michael Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org and (479) 273-4229 and (479) 273-2000 voicing the public's displeasure for the manner in which Wal-mart has been handling this, while imploring them to do the right thing could make a difference.
I have contacted around 300 disability groups, organizations, and advocates around the country. Though there have been many calls, e-mails, and messages of support from people who represent the disabled thus far I have not been able to secure legal representation. Many have wanted to step in and help but are unable able to do so citing that it is not within their scope to provide legal assistance, aren't licensed to practice law in Oregon, have limited funding and resources, and that without a 120 day delay in trial they don't see how either myself or replacement counsel could be able to be prepared. I have received some very good advice and information from many of them for which I am very grateful. Many of them have indicated that they will be keeping their eyes on my situation. And for that I thank them. However, it still leaves me without replacement counsel, and absolutely no idea how to represent myself at trial.
If anyone reading this could pass this information on to perspective legal advocates/attorney's, workers' rights advocates, legislators, media, and social action and social justice groups who might be interested in helping I would greatly appreciate it. Likewise, if anyone would be willing to help me prepare for trial, or has any suggestions, please contact me by e-mail at: KevinHayesCivilRights@hotmail.com
contribute to this article
add comment to discussion
view discussion from this article