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Monday, March 20, 2017

Publix supermarkets blames and gaslights victims of workplace sexual harassment.

Dearest Friends and supporters---

Today I am writing to you to share with you a very concerning and disgusting story That was brought to my attention by someone in my home town. In the south eastern part of the US we have a very family oriented respected and loved grocery store named Publix. You may have heard of them and their stellar reputation as well as their wonderful treatment of their employees. Up until last week I felt this image was accurate. Things changed quickly when Andrea came forward and told me her story.

Andrea had just started working at Publix in early October, for reasons relating to coverage of missing shifts and rides to work she exchanged numbers with many of her coworkers. One specific coworker named Mr. Addis Parra who is her supervisor informed her that he did not have a cell phone and gave her his email address instead. Thinking nothing of it she emailed him later that day saying “It's Andrea.” to inform him of her email address. He then responded “ok Preciosa”. She didn't respond. Seven hours later he messaged again stating when she had emailed him he was asleep, she did not respond. Not even two hours later he emailed again asking for sexy photos. She again ignored his email. At this point he sent a shirtless photo, Andrea fearing retaliation at work replied with a flirty message of “coño” which means damn and a heart eyes emoji not having seen his next email. In the next email he had asked her if she wanted to see one without clothes. She never responded to this email. She never said yes. Mr Parra sent a photo of his whole body naked with an erect penis. She never responded. He then emailed saying let me know if you like it and send me a naked photo of yourself. She never responded. He then emailed again asking if she had received the second photo she didn't know what to what to say fearing for her job she responded with “no I didn't receive the second photo but I am ok with the first one”.

In that same week Andrea and Mr. Parra were scheduled to work together again. Andrea had hoped that Mr. Parra gotten the point and moved on. Sadly this was not the case. While she was performing inventory in the freezer Mr. Parra entered the freezer and closed the door behind him. He then proceeded to grope Andrea, Andrea pushed him off and ran out of the freezer and went to the bathroom to cry. When she had gathered herself she returned to work hoping this time he had gotten the point that she was not interested. For a week she completely ignored all attempts at conversation and avoided him whenever possible which was extremely difficult considering they worked in the same department. The next week Andrea was again in the freezer doing inventory and Mr. Parra entered the freezer again closing the door behind him. Andrea thought it was another co worker, when she turned around she realized it was him. Mr. Parra forced himself on her and attempted to kiss her stating that he liked her tongue piercing. She again pushed him off left the freezer and returned to work. Ever since then Andrea could not inventory the freezer and had panic attacks whenever she entered the freezer fearing that she would again be assaulted by Mr. Parra.

Andrea attempted to continue working but Mr. Parra kept attempting to talk to her and her panic attacks kept getting worse. She stopped coming to work completely. Andrea's mother, noting her strange behavior and absenteeism from work asked what had happened. When her mother heard the story she insisted Andrea go to her store manager and tell them what happened.
On Tuesday March 14, Andrea and her Mother went to go talk to Ingrid and David the Manager and assistant manager. She told them and showed them everything. Both managers sympathized with her and informed her that he would be immediately suspended and Andrea would be reinstated. Ingrid hugged Andrea and promised everything would be ok and she would contact HR. That same day at 5pm Ingrid called asking Andrea to meet with HR on Wednesday. Andrea agreed and was hopeful she would get some semblance of justice. During the meeting with Maria Daily from HR Andrea disclosed the whole story. Maria informed her that she would then hear his side of the story and make a decision and contact her. During Andrea's meeting, Mr. Parra was still working despite promises to have him suspended. Andrea had yet another panic attack. On Friday Andrea received a call from Maria Daily claiming the evidence Andrea provided was insufficient and that the investigation was closed, she also informed her that she could apply at another Publix if she should so choose. She immediately called the police and filed a report on Mr. Parra for battery and sexual assault.

That same night Andrea and her mother decided to go higher up in the HR chain of command. At this point they contacted me and I called Public Relations asking if they had a comment, the secretary took some notes and said I would be contacted. An hour later I was contacted by a Customer care manager who attempted to ease my concerns but did a poor job. He stated that for confidentiality reasons he could not disclose any data but he “understood how it looks”. I asked for a comment and he stated I would be contacted by someone in Public relations. I have not received a call. On Friday she received a call  from Mr. John Shelton, who explained he was from Human resources and that the conclusion of their investigation was that there was nothing they could do because she sent one flirty message and that she didn't have proof that she was touched. She asked about the emails and pictures she submitted as evidence and he stated that there was nothing inappropriate about the messages since they were both adults. Andrea then asked him if he were in the same situation would he send the photo considering she had not said yes and he responded “of course I would.”

Andrea has had panic attacks ever since, she cannot sleep she cannot eat and now has no employment. She cries all the time and feels she was blamed for her assault by an employer who claims to be “family oriented".

Publix doubted, blamed and gas-lighted her for being abused, all because she sent ONE flirty message which was not YES. Below is photo of Mr Parra.