I don’t like being poisoned.
I don’t like being lied to.
I don’t like being lied about.
I don’t like being yelled at and bullied.
I do like being supported by my coworkers and finding my inner American.
This week at work we had an incident.
The clinic beside us decided to hire a painter under the table (illegal)
to use toxic paints (not allowed in our mall, soon to be banned in Canada),
with a sprayer (not allowed in our mall),
during working hours (not allowed)
without any safety equipment or MSDS’s (required by law)
and the paints and solvents were left uncovered after the painter left (just stupid).
Because we complained, after I began to feel dizzy and unsafe on a ladder, some of those things were changed – ok, only the part about painting during business hours. Perhaps that was only because customers began to leave.
Not only did they lie to us about which paints they used, they tried to bully us into being quiet.
The person who hired her cousin to paint the clinic she worked in told me it was water based. This was after she told me it was oil-based. And after our mall mainenance man told us he had personally told us he covered up oil paints. And after the temp in that clinic told me she covered up paint thinner (not used with water paints). And after customer of ours, a paint inspector, told us that it could also have been melamine or quick dry industrial (worse) but not water or latex.
Then this person called me to yell at me. She then lied to us to the mall manager. Later she walked into our store to yell at us for “ruining her vacation”. We had asked for the MSDS which is required by law, didn’t know that following safety laws could ruin someone’s vacation.
She refused to give us the information that would let us find the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) so that I could look up what compounds were in the fumes and if they could get into breastmilk. Since this is information is required on site by law, I called Occupational Health and Safety to aid me. I called a little late for them to do anything since all paint and solvent had been removed from site right after I complained. Including the customary touch-up can.
I found my inner American. Albeit, a polite version. Nevertheless, unlike the temp in the next clinic, I left the toxic area until ventilation had been installed. Instead of taking the bullying, name-calling, threats and mocking, I walked away from her and let my capable co-worker (who used to be in the Navy) escort her out the door.
I don’t think anything can be done now. However, the clinic owner will be informed of this incident when he arrives back from vacation. Perhaps he can get the MSDS for us. Perhaps not.
I can dream that this lying bully will be fired. I can dream she will apologize. I doubt it. But, I now have practice in being a little more assertive and it will be on file in government records.
And if this woman is still in charge and my kids ever need braces, we will find a different clinic.