After 12 years with Rainbow Foods in Minnesota, Scott Ostrom felt pretty confident in his job security. Then, one day the grocery store manager was stabbed at work by an angry customer who became frustrated with the self-checkout.
Ostrom was lucky to live — a notebook in his pocket and his name badge managed to deflect most of the blow to his chest. But his luck didn’t hold out professionally. After suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because of the incident, the grocery store fired Ostrom, claiming he was taking too long of breaks when he was at work.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Ostrom was uncomfortable working in the store after the incident and asked for a transfer. Roundy’s Supermarkets, the corporate owner of the chain, refused his request. Ostrom started taking breaks outside when he became overwhelmed by arguments and raised voices. The company accused him of “job abandonment,” and subsequently fired him.
Then, when he filed for unemployment, they tried to block his claim, citing absenteeism. The ruling was eventually overturned and he received his benefits.
Corporations see workers as numbers and part of the profit margin equation. Even after taking a knife in the chest for his employer, Roundy preferred to refuse accommodations and fire a long term employee rather than potentially have their profits eaten into.
Think of that the next time a politician claims “corporations are people.”
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