Thursday, November 16, 2006

Yuhl-Sheem 12

That night I called Christen who was in her last year of undergraduate school at Yale. I told her what happened. I asked her to translate the events that lead up to my firing and write a letter so I could take it to an attorney. It wasn’t fair. I’m suing because I think of the other women that I worked with. It makes me sad to think of those women working there. They work the hardest because they couldn’t go to college and get the least in return. The people who came out of college and work there do nothing and make the most money. I don’t want the Marriot to do the same thing to these women. They have such hard lives. Big corporations shouldn’t make it harder for them.

In America you have to have everything documented. That’s the only thing that counts if you want justice. Since I got injured at work my whole body hurts. If I sit for more than a few minutes I feel like my bones are going to crumble. When I sleep on my back at night and I try to roll over I can't because of the pain. If I sit in the car for more than half and hour, I get shooting pains into my lower back when I try to stand up. I hurt so much and I still went to work. They still ripped me off. None of this matters unless it is on paper. I told this all to my daughter crying from anger and sadness.

My husband had been very supportive of me during this whole time. He knows everything that has happened to me and he knows where my pride and where my shame is. He saves Korean newspaper clippings that give websites and advice for immigrants. They're posted up all over our refrigerator with pictures and postcards from our daughters. On one of these clippings is a website for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and one is for Workers Compensation. He went to the EEOC and filled out paperwork for me. It took him days to fill out the paperwork because he would have to go back every day with questions. He would stand in line for a long time to help me. After three months the EEOC did an investigation and said they found nothing. The letter they sent us did say that we could file for a hearing if we were not satisfied with their findings.

We decided to file for a hearing. Before the hearing I had to have a deposition. The hotel's lawyers kept asking me the same questions over and over again. They were harassing me, trying to catch me in a lie. We didn't have a lawyer then so we didn't know that they couldn't harass me. I was questioned for hours and hours. They let my husband stay in the room as long as he didn't make any sort of looks or signal to me or say anything. They kicked him out though after a little bit. The translator made a wrong translation and my husband spoke up and corrected her. They were so mad. They told him to leave the room and he said, “Who is supposed to correct the translator? You don’t know if the translator makes a mistake! My wife doesn't know if the translator makes a mistake! This is ridiculous!” That was the last straw. The attorneys made him wait outside.

When we finally went to the hearing it was me and my husband standing up against the lawyers of the hotel's insurance company. They told the judge that I had been injured somewhere else and was trying to scam the hotel. The insurance company lawyers said they did an investigation and couldn’t find anything. The judge asked us if there was any doubt that I had been injured on the job. I said that there was no doubt and that I hurt myself on the job. She asked if we had proof. My husband said yes and he pulled out the letter my daughter had written to Ron. The insurance lawyers were so surprised! They were all scrambling through their papers and whispering frantically to each other, not knowing what had happened. Robert and the hotel lied to them and kept the letter from them. The judge said that the letter was proof that I was injured and that I should receive treatment. She told us that we should sue but that we need a lawyer. She was so surprised that we made it to a hearing without a lawyer! She said only people with lawyers file for a hearing. She asked us how we made it this far and my husband said, “I just asked a lot of questions and filled out the paperwork.” We told her that we couldn't hire a lawyer because we didn't have enough money. The judge let us know that workers compensation lawyers are only paid if you win, no up front money. That’s why we now have a lawyer. Even though we have a lawyer, the hotel is still doing illegal things by keeping documents from us.

My younger daughter asked me how I got up the nerve to sue such a huge corporation. I think that in America it is a lot easier to get justice. America still has a lot of problems but it is better than other countries. It has laws to help protect the powerless. I know this sounds corny but I love America. To me, America really is like the song America, the Beautiful.

1 comment:

jing said...

Dear HuiJeong,

Hi, I'm Anna and i just discovered your blog recently, just wanted to congratulate you on this awesome blog, its terrific, especially the posts titled "Yuhl-Sheem"

I read all the posts consecutively, non stop, its so...engrossing...and full of inspiration. Is it all a true story? Reading it, i could get the feeling of a woman filled with strength, pride, love for her family and honour, especially when they didnt sell their Laundry, to protect potential buyers from pain, i was thinking "why? why?". She really behaved with dignity and honour.

I couldnt stop thinking about this story all day.Can you share what happened afterwards? Is it all true? How does it end? does she prevail?


Anna