By Freddy Estrada
I started to work for Coca-Cola in Carlstad, NJ, in May 2005. I was 28 when that happened. My life changed. I was so glad to work for a big company thinking that life will be better for my family and for myself.
Later on everything started to change. I was harassed by a supervisor. I wrote some grievances on him, and that’s when my nightmare started. Other managers and supervisors started to attack me and retaliate against me.
I used to be so happy with my daughters and wife till I became so angry. My attitude changed due to the stress on me and the nightmares I was having — I would not wish this for anybody who has been a victim of racial discrimination and harassment and retaliation. It’s not a joke!
It affects you and your family. I’m not married anymore. I’m going through a divorce. I don’t see my kids like I used to, thanks to Coca-Cola that destroyed my life and my family.
I used to be on a doctor’s prescription for my stress and nightmares till today. I suffer from insomnia and can’t sleep more then four hours a day, I filed a case with the EEOC in Newark, NJ.
I got fired from work accused of stealing my file and a file of a co-worker. A fuzzy and chopped up audio recording that supposedly proved that I did it was played for me. I was falsely accused of breaking into the manager’s office. I assured them that I did no such thing, that I have no access to that office and there are cameras positioned right outside of the office. I suggested that they view the camera’s footage and bring my accusers, so that I could easily prove my innocence. The managers refused to hear me out, and terminated me anyway.
I knew that this was just a set up fueled by retaliation, and that they really didn’t have anything valid. I have been unsuccessful at collecting unemployment. Coca-Cola has lied to the unemployment offices.
They fired me and I believe that they did it because the complaints that I made to the state of NJ against Coca-Cola for racial discrimination, retaliation and harassment. But it is not over yet because I’m fighting to get my job back.
This is a true story about myself with the company and the whole world should know about what happens inside Coca-Cola and the way they treat their employees. We are human beings with rights like anybody else and I believe in justice like I believe in God.
Reprinted with permission from Stop Coke Discrimination.