Another Worker Testimony

After the strike began, this testimony was supplied to us by former Target worker Amanda Gilmer:

I want to start off by saying I am in full support of this strike and I hope the employee demands are met. I was hired as a seasonal employee in October 2016 and quit in May of 2017. During my employment, I primarily worked on the truck team so my interactions with STL Daniel were limited, but they were just as uncomfortable as the other testimonies portray them to be.

In the mornings, before store opening, management would do a store walk while the truck team was working and that is where I primarily had interactions with him. Almost every single day that he saw me he would comment on my hair, tattoos, or appearance in some way. These comments could seem harmless at face value, but I’m not exaggerating when I say it was every single time I saw him. This made me mildly uncomfortable but I figured it was just his way of being friendly, even if it was misguided and a bit unprofessional. One morning, during our huddle, I was wearing a black headband and had my hair up and he approached me and said “oh I was worried for a second there, I thought you had dyed over your beautiful red hair.” I found this to be a pretty creepy comment to make (especially after the dozens he’d made before that), but I laughed it off to avoid confrontation. Another comment he made that I felt was completely unprofessional was made one morning during our break. I was at a table with two other female employees and a male employee. STL Daniel was skulking around the room talking to various people. He stopped at our table and nudged the male coworker and said “you should be paying me to sit at a table with these three pretty ladies 😉” And chuckled. All three of us just looked at each other awkwardly smiling until he left. The subtle sexism disguised as “compliments” is honestly gross. I don’t come to work to have my appearance commented on daily. He was the only person from manager to coworker that ever felt it necessary to make these comments and it made it that much more obvious how unprofessional he was compared to everyone else around him. I was even told by a few of my female coworkers that he was ‘handsy’ and got a little too close sometimes. I thought this was an appalling statement to hear since apparently nothing had been done about it even though it was a well known fact. I found myself going home after work every day and venting to my husband about yet another comment on my hair that he had made, and he always told me to go to HR and complain. That I shouldn’t be made to feel uncomfortable, that’s what HR is there for. Well, when I finally quit, that wasn’t really the case.

I quit in May of this year for a variety of reasons, the primary one being my direct ETL of the flow team, but that isn’t who this is about. Before my last day, I asked if I could meet with Taylor, the HR ETL of the store to discuss some issues I thought were important. I wanted to leave knowing I had possibly fixed issues for the coworkers I was leaving behind. I outlined all the problems I had with the store, with the treatment of employees, etc. She was incredibly professional and filled with concern. She took notes, assured me these issues would be dealt with, she made me feel completely heard and validated. At the end of my meeting with her she asked if there was anything else, and I kind of laughed and said that there was. I told her that STL Daniel made me and a few other female employees uncomfortable with his comments and general demeanor towards us. That I didn’t want to name names but I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, that the hair comments were so frequent it made me feel weird and it was unnecessary. She frowned and looked a bit defeated and told me he “has a good heart” and “he means well”. I smiled and politely agreed that I don’t really know him, that I’m sure he does, and then left. I was really disappointed by her reaction, her tone made it seem like it wasn’t the first time she’d heard this and she came to his defense making excuses for behavior that I was telling her I found unacceptable. It was odd how the sexism I pointed out from other managers was so unacceptable to her, and then in the very same meeting she came to the defense of her direct boss doing the same thing. I didn’t understand it but it was my last day so I left without looking back.

I didn’t want to go to HR until the very end of my employment because I knew he’d be the type to retaliate or make me even more uncomfortable. I worried a lot about being cornered in conversations with him because they were always awkward and forced and a bit too intimate. Any time he came through to walk the store, every single person on my team (of all women) would look at each other, clearly uncomfortable with his presence. For a while I rationalized that he was just one of those manager types that liked to feel important and talk the loudest and use their perceived power as an intimidation tactic, but that coupled with the oddly placed compliments to his female employees made me feel especially powerless. He sets the entire store up to be a hostile environment.

As I said before, I quit because of the flow team ETL who was a direct employee of Daniel. He was sexist and inappropriate as well, making sexual jokes and comments about female workers or belittling us for being women on the truck team “trying to be men.” I found it very ignorant and immature and offensive. Plenty of members of management there make derogatory comments about the gay community or other races. I witnessed this first hand all the time on flow team. You’re expected to laugh with them and accept it as a woman, as a minority, as an LGBTQ+ individual, and it is not okay. Especially when during hiring orientation you are fed the idea that target is an open accepting environment where discrimination or discriminatory comments won’t be tolerated. Target policies are continually disregarded and not upheld by management and it is disappointing to say the least.

These are the standards that Daniel Butler sets for his employees at this store and it is completely unacceptable.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s