The managers where I work seem to favor those without children over those with children when it comes to promotions and other job changes.
The managers say it's all just coincidence. Basically, they told us "You're all just making stuff up. Now shut up and get back to work."
So here's what I'll do: I'll present the bare facts, and you can tell me whether or not these people are discriminating against parents.
See ya below.
I work in a warehouse facility with several different departments. Each department has one supervisor and at least one team lead. Each department also has a different start time (Receiving comes in earliest, for example; other start times are staggered throughout the day).
Supervisors are salaried. They do not get "points" for being late; they are able to adjust their schedules as necessary, and are able to leave during work hours to take care of personal business.
Leads are paid hourly. They are assessed "points" for being late (with no exceptions for instances of heavy snowfall, say, or getting stuck behind a bad traffic accident while on the way to work), and days off must be scheduled five days in advance unless they opt to use sick time (thereby accepting the risk of termination if caught lying about being sick).
Management's current "big idea" is something they call "super-flex staffing." The idea is to reduce working staff to the bare minimum, and then move the associates and leads to different departments as dictated by the variable work load. Generally, supervisors do not move; they stay in their departments, even when there's nothing to do there. More is asked of our leads because, as management says, "They're supposed to leading by example."
Of our 12 supervisors, 3 have young children at home. Of those 3, 2 had their children after being hired or promoted. In the last six years, no one who is a parent has ever been promoted to supervisor at our facility (actually, only one has been promoted in the past three years. The one parent who was hired on as a supervisor appears to have been a fluke.)
Of our 15 leads, 3 have young children at home. Of those 3, 1 had his child after being hired or promoted. Only two (childless) leads have been hired or promoted in the past year--and both of those were to fill spots left open by parents who were forced to quit due to work/schedule conflicts. They can't change when school starts in the mornings; they can't change when their kids get home in the afternoon.
Not one of our managers, nor our facility's director, have young children at home (one has grown children, the others are childless).
At an average $10/hour, none of the hourly associates or leads make enough money to afford after-school care. Supervisors and managers, though, seem make enough that their spouses generally don't have to work.
Since each department has its own start time, changing departments necessitates a change in schedule. Leads and associates with children who are asked to change departments for a week or longer must either adjust their schedules...or quit. This has already happened twice just this year. On two different occasions, a lead has been asked to change schedules. One quit after giving it a try but finding it too difficult; one ended up "pointing out" because she was late too often after getting her kids on the school bus.
When approached about changing schedules (and it's never a "request"; it's always their way or the highway), the lead says, "I can't start at 5am because I have a pre-schooler, and I can't very well drop him off at daycare at 4:30 in the morning."
Or, the lead says, "I can't work that late because I have kids, and I have to be there when they get home from school."
Management simply responds with this: "This is where we need you right now. Do what you have to do." And that's it. They don't seem to care about the people who work for them. All they seem to want are bodies to be available to do the work.
Now, all three leads who happen also to be parents are being asked to change their schedules. Only one of them has the external resources (her grandparents) available to make the adjustment being asked of her. The other two eventually will have to quit unless some last-minute miracle occurs.
One of the other two is me.
It seems to most of us (parents and non-parents alike) that there are many non-parent leads to choose from when considering who to move where. Isn't it strange that they tend only to move those few who have children? The insensitive and callous approach on management's part has sent our morale plummeting. And this comes after more than a year of letting people go but not replacing them, thanks to their big "super-flex staffing" idea, which has added extra responsibility to many--especially our leads--with no increase in pay. (In fact, the company froze our pay in January. But the decreased staff means decreased man-hours--which, when combined with tighter controls on our time and something they call "enhanced accountability" leading to an overall increase in productivity, ultimately translates to bigger bonuses to supervisors and managers.)
There's a lot of evidence on paper that "super-flex staffing" is having very positive effects on the facility--for the supervisors and managers, anyway. For the rest of us, our jobs have become a constant source of fear and uncertainty.
So what do you think?
Is management actively trying to weed out parents to improve their "super-flex staffing" bottom line?
Or are we, as management says, making a big deal out of nothing?
I'm seeking any advice on what can be done, if anything. By the way, this is a so-called "right-to-work" state, and the facility is (obviously) non-union.
Thanks for your interest, and thanks in advance for your advice.