- Posted June 7, 2011 by
Durham, North Carolina
This iReport is part of an assignment:
CNN iReport University
Cree, Inc. vs. David deSerres
The Yahoo Finance Message Board for Cree.
Get a load of these guys.
It relates to my blog.
..and it's been going on for over 3 years.
For years and years I tried to obtain employment with Cree, Incorporated of Durham North Carolina. I had a few interviews, but I never got a job offer.
My old colleague from M.S.A.I. Myra Hamilton told me about a job fair that was being held at the Cree auditorium in May of 2002. She told me to go to the job fair and give my resume to an engineer named Jim Wood. She thought that Jim could help me find a job in the company in the engineering department of the Wafer fab.
I drove to the job fair with my girlfriend Emily, and we both filled out applications. After locating Jim I handed him my resume and application, and he stated “I’ve seen this resume before”, and my reply was a smile and I said “Oh good”. He then got a funny look on his face and said “What are you looking for?”. I replied that I was looking for an engineer position in the Wafer fab, and if there were no engineer openings I would consider a technician position as I had been unemployed for quite some time and I needed a job pretty bad. I was a single parent, and that supporting my family was paramount on my mind.
Jim then looked at me and said “To tell you the truth I don’t have a lot of respect for Mitsubishi Engineers. I was stunned.
He went on to explain that Mitsubishi engineers didn’t know anything, and that they were just a bunch of go betweens. I told Jim that I was sorry, and that I didn’t understand. He then turned to Danny Strickland who was sitting on his right and asked Danny if he knew of any engineering positions. Danny shook his head indicating no, and then Jim went silent for 10 to 15 seconds, scanned down the row of tables, and then he told me that he would try to find someone to give my resume and application to. Danny Strickland worked at M.S.A.I. for the entire time I was there. He knows me and my accomplishments at M.S.A.I.. I wasn’t hired or even contacted for an interview.
In July of 2002 I was very frustrated, and I sought help from Chuck Swoboda himself through email. I wrote him a letter explaining my situation, my education and background, my experience in the US Army, and told him that I would appreciate it a lot if he could help me get hired at Cree. I attached a copy of my resume to the email, and asked him if he could review it and if possible pass it on within the organization. I never heard back from him.
I finally landed a job with Cree in December 2002 after 8 months of unemployment. Two technicians in GaN Epi had been fired for stealing company property, and they needed someone with experience fast. Myra gave my resume to the Equipment Engineering manager over GaN Epi, and I was brought in for a number of interviews. Although I already had 15 years of experience in semiconductor and electronics manufacturing the only position that they would hire me into was as a Semiconductor Equipment Maintenance Technician II – a position which required no experience or degree.
For the next month and a half I worked on day shift, and I received my initial training on the GaN Epi reactors. They were simple tools compared to what I had worked on in previous jobs, and I learned them in no time at all. Eventually I was assigned to back end night shift working from 6pm to 6am. I worked Thursday, Friday, Saturday one week, and then Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday the next week.
It was exhausting working all night long, and I never got much of a chance to spend time awake with my sons except for a couple of hours each day. We worked very hard all night long tearing apart and rebuilding reactors, and during the day I would try to sleep with the entire world awake and noisy around me.
On my short weekends the boys were with their mother, and on my long weekends they were with me. I was never having any quality time with them, as I was always asleep or half asleep. It was severely depressing. I asked Suzanne over and over to switch weekends, but she refused.
I called my divorce attorney and consulted with him about the situation. He advised me to make the change myself, and that she would have to take the other weekend like it or not.
I changed the weekends, informed her when to come and get the next, and then she refused to pick them up for over a month. After the month went by Suzanne filed contempt of court charges against me and took me to court for allegedly denying her visitation. This was ludicrous.
As a single parent with 2 sons ages 10 and 14 years of age I worked that back end night shift as a shift lead over 3 other equipment technicians working on GaN Epi reactors for a year and a half. I made a name for myself as being an effective leader, top notch technician, hard worker, and exemplary problem solver, and inventor.
That got me into trouble. The other technicians were jealous about the boat, my Yukon truck, the fact that I owned my nice home in Durham, my position over the night shift crew, and the twins. They all assumed that I was making big bucks, but in fact I was making far less than any of them.
Although I received an excellent review on my one year anniversary I was denied a promotion to Equipment Technician Level III. I had invented two tools that simplified the maintenance process, thereby saving the company millions of dollars in lost revenue, and had made the shift extremely effective and efficient. Our work spoke for itself. We were good. Tim Penny told me during that evaluation that it was unheard of for a technician to be promoted only after one year with the company, and that I might be able to get around that if I successfully passed his chamber clean test. You won’t believe the chamber clean test.
For some reason I was a threat to the scientist Mike. He hated me from the day I walked into the clean room and he yelled at me and berated me in front of my coworkers. He bullied me regularly for no apparent reason. He tried to micromanage anything I did involving the research reactors.
One night he jumped in my face and told me never to touch one of his research reactors again without calling him first. He was mad as hell that I had fixed a problem with a chiller on one of his tools. I had no idea why, but I said “OK”.
About 3 weeks later one of the controllers in one of his machines had a power supply burn up, and the inside of the reactor was filled with thick dense smoke. I walked up to the machine and surveyed the situation. The machine had shut down, all the gas supplies were shut off, and there was no danger of either a fire or further equipment damage.
When asked by a fellow technician what we should do I looked at him, smiled, and said “Get some marshmallows”. He was stunned. I explained to him what Mike had commanded to me three weeks earlier, and he then asked me if I was going to call him ( at 03:30 in the morning). I said “No, you call him”, as I was sick and tired of his treatment, and I had no desire to hear his voice or suffer any more of his scorn.
Finally after the technician called Mike and explained what had happened we got “permission” to touch his reactor. I then spent the next 3 hours removing a power supply out of a spare controller in the sub-fab and replacing the burned out one in his machine.
By the time he arrived at 05:30 his machine was back up and running awaiting his excellence.
I managed to solve a maintenance issue in rebuilding the reactors that they had had for over nine years by inventing a tool that allowed precise adjustments of the heaters with only two hands, and from outside the chamber. The method used for years required three hands, and the technicians were up to their elbows inside the reactors. I did this in only two months of being hired.
I invented another tool that we used to leak check all the parts for the machines before were put them onto the machine. This eliminated the problem of leaks that were caused by installation of defective components. The machines were constantly being rebuilt with parts of unknown condition. After spending twelve hours of rebuilding, realigning, and sealing the machines up we conducted leak tests with helium leak detectors, and mass spectrometers. It was the norm to have to tear a machine down again after finding that one of the components we had installed was in fact no good and leaking.
Both of these inventions saved the company millions of dollars in lost revenue due to equipment downtime. I took the most inexperienced team on the worst possible shift and made into the most productive out of all four shifts. We had the lowest rebuild times, and the highest run rates.
All the other shifts were jealous, and the training technician began to look incompetent and lazy. This began to bother him, and he worked very hard to try to make me and my team appear incompetent and lazy. He came up with a chamber clean test that we all were supposed to take and expected to pass if we wanted to be promoted.
The test had 75 questions. 50 of the questions were true/ false, and 25 of the questions were multiple choice. There was no study guide. The knowledge came from OJT, and word of mouth. If you missed one question you failed, and could not take the test for another month. You were not allowed to see your test results, or allowed to know which question you missed. They would only tell you how many you had missed.
As you can imagine the test was perceived as being rigged by all the technicians, and everyone resented it, him, and our engineers and managers for implementing it.
One night at the beginning of the shift the training technician came into work and asked me to take a break, come outside and talk to him. We both went outside the building to the break area and sat down.
He began by telling me that it wasn’t my job to solve problems, just to put parts back onto machines as fast as we could because down time meant money, and we were judged by downtime and nothing else. I told him to forget that notion, and I was going to make sure that every part we installed onto the reactors was tested as being good before we installed it. He didn’t appreciate my response one bit, and became more arrogant.
He then told me not to let anyone know that I had bought that boat, or I would never see another pay increase again. I asked him why, and he told me that everyone there was jealous and to get used to it. I told him that was petty and shallow, what I owned or didn’t own wasn’t anyone else’s business, and that I wasn’t going to follow his stupid insecure arrogant advice. He got even more angry, stated to me that he knew that he was overpaid, that he was going to spend as little time in the clean room as possible, and as much time out of the clean room as possible. He was a man with some serious issues. I would really like to know where in the organization that the advice about the boat came from.
You see a couple of months after I took the job at Cree I had bought a 2003 Bayliner 245 Ciera Cruiser. I initially had gone to the boat store looking for a part for my 1970 Macgregor sailboat motor, but walked out of there with plans to buy a boat that my sons and I could enjoy for years to come. The boys almost fainted when they saw me pull it up into the driveway, and they climbed all over and inside it for hours and hours. I taught my sons how to wakeboard, and we went deep sea fishing and camping on it whenever we could. The boys loved it.
All the people at work were jealous, with the exception of a few individuals. Those people became my good friends, and I took them out fishing with me at the coast.
Cree, Incorporated, day shift, and another job.
One evening my manager Tim Penny approached me and explained that they were creating a position on day shift that was right up my alley. They desperately needed a
buyer for the Wafer fab and AD fab departments. They needed someone that had all the experience that I possessed in the areas of supporting maintenance, repair, and operating activities through buying, second sourcing, and repairing damaged parts. I had done this for years at M.S.A.I, and was very good at it.
I interviewed and was hired. There was a catch though. I would be moving to business days, and so I would lose all built in shift differential and overtime. I asked if they would please give me a lateral pay wise, but they said no “Take it or leave it”. It was an easy decision and they knew that. I had to be home with my sons at night no matter what it cost me, so I took a $7,800 pay cut and moved to days.
As usual I excelled. I owned a spare parts cage with over 4500 line items. I order parts from all over the world. I sent shielding off for precious metal reclaim. I second sourced everything and everything I could to save the company money. I found obsolete equipment parts on E-Bay for one of a kind tools in the factory. I managed a budget that exceeded a million dollars a year. My expense report was always immaculate, and the girls in accounting loved me. Everyone from all over the factory came to me looking for help fixing their tools. My reputation was impeccable, and my coworkers respected me to the fullest.
All the attention got me on the radar of purchasing. I had previously applied for a number of jobs at Cree, but I was always bypassed for hiring behind other employees. Most if not all of them were under age forty and less experienced than I.
Purchasing had posted a position for a Buyer Level II, so I applied for it. Larry Stephens was the Director of Supply Chain Operation, and he had become well aware of my skills. I let him borrow my notebook which contained my resume, and the original copies of all of my military records. He was very impressed. I like and respect Larry a lot. He is a good man, and an honest and hardworking individual.
I was hired into purchasing on December 11th 2005 as a Buyer Level II by the Director of Supply Chain Operations Mr. Larry Stephens my background and credentials were deemed as acceptable by everyone in the organization from the CEO Mr. Chuck Swoboda down the chain of command. Everyone wanted me in Solid State Lighting.
There was a catch though. I was not going to receive a pay increase, in fact I was being hired as a salaried employee, and so all opportunities for overtime would be lost. That was meant in effect another promotion, and another pay cut. I took the job anyway, because it meant that I had greater opportunities for advancement.
On December 11th 2005 I was told by Mr. Larry Stephens that my current qualifications (Associate Degree in Applied Science in Electronics Engineering, 18 years in semiconductor manufacturing in the areas of equipment engineering / materials planning / departmental MRO purchasing, and 4 years in the United States Army as a TOW Missile Weapon System Section Leader / TOW Missile System Armorer / Equal Employment Opportunity Non-Commissioned Officer were satisfactory.
I was further told by Mr. Larry Stephens that upon my promotion from Administrative Purchasing Assistant Level II (non-exempt/hourly) to Buyer Level II (exempt/salary) that I was guaranteed the ability to rise as far as I wanted to in the organization if I did a good job.
My first assignment was being sent to work in the Solid State Lighting Division planning, requisitioning, and buying all the materials and supplies necessary for manufacturing Xlamps.
I was also responsible for the organization of the SSL manufacturing line equipment set’s spare parts inventory and spare parts planning and reordering through the utilization of ERP software as I previously used in support of the Wafer and Advanced Devices Fabrication departments.
On May 14th 2006 my responsibilities were expanded when the M-30 Colorwave Program began, and I assumed responsibility for all of the Planning, Requisitioning, and Buying in support of this project.
My talents and abilities were greatly appreciated by all with whom I worked. I taught everyone how to use Oracle to requisition their spare parts. I interfaced with all the suppliers. I helped the accountants in accounting on a daily basis. I generated enormous spreadsheets in Excel to use for planning, and I provided management with summaries of inventory levels and inbound shipments that they needed to support their production plans.
In July of 2007 Cree reorganized the purchasing and Quality Assurance departments from one General Manager to another General Manager. The new GM was a woman by the name of Lynette Rockas. The day the old GM introduced me to the new GM I had a bad feeling. She said hello with an insincere smile on her face, turned her head downward to the left, and then walked away. I saw it in her eyes. My days were numbered.
Larry had been forced to interview his replacement, and train him as he was being demoted and given a new position in purchasing. Cree hired a man named Raj Kapadia, and then Raj hired a guy that he used to work with named Randy Stokes. Raj came in with a lot of great ideas, but for some reason left after 3 months. All of us in purchasing were shocked. We liked Raj, and we thought that he was a good man and a fair person.
On July 21st 2007 I was given responsibility for all Capital Equipment Negotiations and Acquisitions, and all MRO (maintenance, repair, and operating supplies).
After Raj left Randy took over. Randy had worked at IBM as a planner, but had no experience in purchasing to my knowledge.
I received an exemplary performance review on August 8th 2007, but passed over for promotion. It was explained to me by Mr. Brian Meckes that I was un-promotable
due to only having a 2 year degree.
I was twice denied a well deserved promotion to Buyer / Planner Level III by my superiors Mr. Brian Meckes, Mr. Randall Stokes, and Mrs. Lynette Rockas of Cree’s purchasing department.
These incidents took place on August 13th 2007 and November 21st 2007.
The rational behind their decision (as described by Mr. Brian Meckes to me) on these date/s was that the new General Manager over Purchasing (Mrs. Lynette Rockas) had changed the rules for the qualifications necessary to become a Buyer/Planner Level III, and because I did not possess a 4 year degree I was now un-promotable to the next level of Buyer/Planner III.
Mr. Brian Meckes encouraged me to seek employment elsewhere during 2 separate verbal counseling sessions that took place on September 7th 2007, and on November 13th 2007.
On October 16th 2007 Mr. Brian Meckes, Mr. Randall Stokes, and Mrs. Lynette Rockas of Cree, Inc. Purchasing Department hired Mr. Chad Keenoy (age 27) into the position of Buyer/Planner Level III.
Mr. Chad Keenoy had previously worked under Mr. Randall Stokes at the IBM – Durham Site for 7 years as a planner, had a 4 year degree, but no experience in either purchasing or semiconductor manufacturing.
Cree management had also elected to bypass for hiring from temp to permanent status 3 African American women who had worked in purchasing for over a year and a half. They were told that there were not going to be any more positions in purchasing, and since their contracts were expiring should look for a job somewhere else.
From my perspective this was nothing other than age discrimination, sex discrimination, and racial discrimination – all taking place in one very specific and unfortunate event. I was appalled and dismayed, but I knew that I just become empowered to do something about it. I have credentials.
After bring the illegal actions taken by my superiors against me to the attention of Human Resources personnel Mrs. Elizabeth LaBella, Ms.Margaret Chadwick, and Mrs. Norma Cunningham, and receiving no assistance from them I filed age discrimination charges on November 23rd 2007 with the office of The United States of America Equal Employment Opportunity Commission located in Raleigh, NC.
The charge of age discrimination that I filed was for actions taken against me that were in direct violation of The Age Discrimination Act of 1967. I also complained to every investigator that I have come into contact with at the EEOC about the discrimination that took place against the three women. Those women are Debra Giles, Sofia Cameron, and Felicia Alston. I love and respect each one of them dearly. They are very intelligent and capable individuals that should have been given a job.
During the period of November 23rd 2007 through May 12th 2008 I was subjected to numerous incidents of retaliation and harassment by Mr. Brian Meckes.
On Wednesday January 9th 2008 I was re-classified from Buyer/Planner Level II to Buyer Level II by Mr. Brian Meckes and Mr. Randall Stokes. Also on that date Mr. Rich Roth (Age 34 -Buyer Level III) and Ms. Sandy McFadden (Age 65 – Buyer Level III) were both demoted by Mr. Brian Meckes and Mr. Randall Stokes to Buyer Level II.
On February 26th 2008 Mr. Brian Meckes gave me a verbal counseling for: 1.) Playing my cell phone radio too loudly in the cubicle area, 2.) Corresponding unprofessionally with a supplier which I know personally, 3. Converting a purchase requisition in Oracle ERP for MRO supplies to a purchase order for Mr. Quinton Joyner of the SiC Epi Department, and 4.) Being requested to sign and submit to Mrs. Elizabeth Labella a form titled “Valueoptions – Authorization for Use or Disclosure of Medical Information” under the confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
I declined to sign over my confidential medical records during this meeting.
On February 28th 2008 Mrs. Elizabeth LaBella came by my desk in the Cree Purchasing Department area, and handed the form to me. I again declined to sign and return the form to her.
On February 28th 2008 during my lunch period I drove from Cree, Inc. in Durham NC to the EEOC office in Raleigh NC and filed retaliation charges against Cree, Inc. for actions taken against me on February 26th 2008 and February 28th 2008 by Mr. Brian Meckes (Purchasing) and Mrs. Elizabeth LaBella (Human Resources).
On April 3rd 2008 Mr. Brad Williams (Equipment Engineering) who is a personal friend of Mr. Brian Meckes complained to Mr. Brian Meckes and me through email that I had disclosed confidential and proprietary company information to a supplier by describing the white foreign matter and brown foreign matter found in a batch of material we had purchased from them as “WFM and BFM” respectively.
On April 7th 2008 I received a verbal counseling from Mr. Randall Stokes and Mr. Brian Meckes for “offending” Mr. Brian Meckes on April 4th 2008 during a discussion that I was having with him about the complaint of Mr. Brad Williams that took place on April 4th 2008. Mr. Brian Meckes insinuated during this meeting that I made a gesture to him that resembled a person masturbating something with a penis the size of a large oceanic mammal.
On May 2nd 2008 I was given my first and only written warning during my 5 years of employment with Cree, Inc by Mr. Brian Meckes for overuse of personal time off (PTO).
Mr. Brian Meckes also wrote me up on that date for misuse of the company email system by sending emails to co-workers that contained files of my resume and military records.
Mr. Brian Meckes told me in this written warning that I was not allowed to request PTO through documentable means such as email, written PTO requests, or text messaging – and that all further PTO requests must be done so verbally – either face-to-face- or by telephone.
On Friday May 9th I reported to work at 06:30 (normal hours are 8:00AM to 5:00PM) as usual, and worked until 12:00 noon. I called Mr. Brian Meckes and asked for the afternoon off as I was upset and under a tremendous amount of stress due to the situations and tremendous workload that I assumed upon the departure of Mr. Rich Roth and Ms. Sandy McFadden (Rich quit and Sandy retired). Mr. Brian Meckes granted the 4 hours of PTO.
On Monday May 12th I reported to work at 06:30AM and worked unimpeded through lunch. Upon returning from lunch Mr. Brian Meckes came by my desk and asked me to walk with him to conference room 5. Upon entering conference room 5 I was greeted by Mr. Randall Stokes, and Mrs. Elizabeth LaBella. Mr. Brian Meckes explained to me that he did not authorize the 4 hours of PTO on Friday May 9th, and so for this reason I was being terminated immediately.
On Tuesday May 13th I filed a charge of retaliation against Cree, Inc. for unlawful retaliation as evidenced through the unlawful and unethical termination.
My case file numbers for the 3 charges on file with the EEOC in Raleigh NC are 433-2008-00331, 433-2008-03631, and 433-2008-05515.
After filing a second charge of retaliation with the EEOC, I applied for unemployment benefits with the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina. I was contacted via telephone by an ESC investigator, because Cree informed them that I had broken company policy and as a result was terminated. What this meant was that Cree was contesting my application for unemployment benefits.
The investigator interviewed me over the phone, and I assumed that everything would be all right. I was wrong. The following week I received a letter from the ESC informing me that my unemployment benefits had been denied.
The following day I drove to Durham, and visited the Veterans Department in the ESC. I explained the situation to the Veterans benefits investigator who informed me that I was entitled to appeal the decision. I filled out the appeal form, and called my attorney.
Cree wanted to have a telephone appeal, but there was no way that I would allow that. I was going to the appeal in person, and I was taking my attorney with me. My attorney is a man named Chuck Monteith. Chuck worked for the ESC for 27 years. He knows the ins and outs of the ESC. He is a good man.
Cree called the ESC and my attorney the week of the in-person appeal and stated that they were not coming. Chuck and I went as planned, I was questioned by Chuck in front of the Sr. Appeals Referee, and since Cree was not there I won by default. After three months of having no income what-so-ever, burning through my life savings, and no income at all I began receiving my unemployment benefits. I had to resort to borrowing money from my elderly parents in Chapel Hill just to be able to pay my bills, rent, etc. It was a very difficult and unsettling period.
After my termination I began exercising my rights to complain about the discrimination and retaliation to everybody and anybody that I could think of. I knew quite well that I am protected by federal law, and that complaining is within my rights as afforded by the US Congress. I contacted the OIG offices of the DoD, the DoE, the EEOC, the US Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliant Programs, the NAACP, Senator John McCain, Senator Barack Obama, Senator Elizabeth Dole, and I copied Vice President Richard Cheney on all of it. I even contacted PBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and good old Oprah Winfrey herself through their websites.
I posted bulletins on the Yahoo finance message board for Cree, detailing what they had done to me, and what laws they had broken in the process of doing so. I received letters and forms from Senator Burr and Senator Dole requesting access to my public records. I completed the forms, and returned them to the Senators offices with stacks of documentation and evidence. Senator John McCain, Senator Richard Burr, and Senator Elizabeth Dole have all helped me in one way or another.
Cree, Incorporated is a US Government contractor. The company risks losing it’s contractor status if found guilty of being in non-compliance with US EEOC laws.
I waited for over a year for the EEOC to complete the investigation into my charges of retaliation, and guess what? That’s right, they couldn’t tell one way or another and issued two letters of indetermination.
The story continues, and it only gets better…..
In response to Cree’s claim that they refused to promote me due to my having only an Associate Degree in Electronics Engineering and that my charge of age discrimination is unfounded.
Cree had reorganized the department as stated in their response, but not as they described.
In the reorganization my responsibilities as a Buyer/Planner Level II were increased to those of a Buyer/Planner Level III. This was done by assigning me all Maintenance, Repair, and Operating supplies (MRO) for the company, as well as the responsibility of all Capital Equipment Negotiations and acquisitions.
These duties are reserved exclusively for high level Buyers in Cree’s Purchasing Department as they require a level of understanding and knowledge of the business that lower level and less experienced Buyers do not posses.
Cree, Inc. management had begun a campaign of “cleansing” of the entire Purchasing Department upon Raj Kapadia’s hiring as the new Director of Supply Chain Operations to replace Mr. Larry Stepens.
The older employees were targeted for dismissal to be replaced by younger workers. The employees that were targeted were:
Larry Stephens – Director – over age 40 – terminated
James Smith – Buyer III – under age 40 – terminated
John M – Buyer II – under age 40 – terminated
Ming Lin – Buyer III – over age 40 – resigned under pressure
Brenda Workman – Buyer III – over age 40 – terminated
Sandy McFadden – Buyer III – over age 40 – demoted to Buyer II – then she voluntarily retired
Rich Roth – Buyer III – under age 40 – demoted to Buyer II – at that point he then resigned
Debra Giles – Temp – under age 40, African American female – Passed over for hiring into purchasing from temp position
Felicia Alston – Temp – under age 40, African American female – Passed over for hiring into purchasing from temp position
Sofia Cameron – Temp – under age 40, African American female – Passed over for hiring into purchasing from temp position
Gail Connor – Temp – Over age 40- Passed over for hiring into purchasing from temp position
To summarize here were five (5) employees over age 40 that were dismissed including myself, 3 female employees that were either terminated, demoted, or passed over for hiring, and 3 African American employees that were passed over for hiring into Cree’s purchasing department.
These employees were all dismissed, resigned, or were denied a position at Cree within a 2 year period from my hire date into purchasing (01Jan2005).
Cree, Inc. management did not have any requirement whatsoever for a 4 year degree for a Buyer Level III at the time that I filed charges against the company for age discrimination. The requirements for a Buyer Level II did not include a degree of any type either.
I pointed this out to the EEOC in documents that I provided which were printed out from Cree’s intranet job description page. The EEOC ignored this information.
Cree management demoted me, Richard Roth, and Sandy McFadden after I filed charges against the company. This action was a direct violation of the Retaliation clause of the EEOC laws on discrimination. They did this after I pointed out to them that the internal job posting description did not mention a requirement for a degree for Level II or Level III, and also that I pointed out to them that neither Richard Roth or Sandy McFadden possessed a 4 year degree. These three actions are further evidence of retaliation against me, as these were my coworkers and the intended effect was to turn my coworkers against me.
My second charge against Cree was not due to my demotion to a Buyer Level II from a Buyer/Planner Level II, but instead was directly related to the verbal counseling that Mr. Brian Meckes and Mrs. Elizabeth Labella had subjected me to where:
1. BM criticized my email correspondence with Brian Crawford of KLA, Inc. as being unprofessional
2. BM criticized me for playing my cell phone radio too loud in the cubicle area.
3. BM criticized me for converting an MRO purchase requisition into a purchase order
4. BM criticized me for sending copies of my resume and military documents to coworkers in my efforts to find another job within the organization.
It was during this meeting where Mr. Brian Meckes called Mrs. Elizabeth LaBella into the conference room via his cell phone to have her as a witness. I had just told Mr. Brian Meckes that his actions against me were consistent with intense scrutiny of my work and was outlawed by the EEOC laws on retaliation.
It was also during this meeting Mrs.Elizabeth LaBella told me that she wanted me to sign over my Employee Assistance Program (EAP) confidential medical records. I declined as those records are personal and confidential to my treatment under Cree’s own EAP program.
The following day Mrs. Elizabeth LaBella came by my desk in Purchasing and once again asked me to sign the Confidential release form. I once again declined, but she left the form with me this time.
That day during my lunch period I filed retaliation charges against Cree for Mr. Brian Meckes and Mrs. Elizabeth LaBella’s actions.
The third charge of retaliation was leveled against Cree upon my termination on May 12 2008.
Cree stated in their response that I was terminated for taking unauthorized time off. This is not true.
Mr. Brian Meckes authorized the time off via telephone, and then afterwards attempted to call me back into Cree.
I had called Mr. Brian Meckes from the parking lot of the Carolina Ale House at Briar Creek and asked him to come to that location to discuss the situation that was going on with Cree, drink a few beers, and play some pool. Mr. Brian Meckes stated that he would not be able to attend, but that I could have the afternoon off.
Approximately an hour later Mr. Brian Meckes began calling me again and again. He knew that I was at the Carolina Ale House and that I had been drinking beer. Mr. Brian Meckes was attempting to get me back onto Cree property under the influence of alcohol – something that I would never do.<
After no less than 5 calls from Mr. Brian Meckes I texted him that I was home drunk. I did this on purpose to let him know that I was not coming back to work.
Cree stated that I used 54.5 hours of PTO and that was excessive for any employee. In each case my use of time off was authorized by Mr. Brian Meckes, a fact that he later denied.
Cree neglected to mention in their response that I was working an average of 50 hours per week while on-site, and also that I was working an additional 20~30 hours per week from my home by remotely logging onto the Cree website.
As part of my duties involved shipments of goods and materials that were from overseas suppliers it was necessary to track and monitor shipments during night periods and respond to overseas suppliers emails.
In addition to these duties I was also required to monitor the Oracle autocreate que, convert important purchase requisitions into purchase orders, and then email the purchase order to the suppliers.
In addition to this responsibility I was also responsible for maintaining the numerous Excel spreadsheets that I created for materials planning, and the Oracle MRP bills of materials for the Xlamp and M-30 product lines that went along with them. Mr Larry Stephens can verify that this was the case, and that I was doing an excellent job
One day I ran a query in Oracle that detailed the workload of the 6 buyers in purchasing. The results of the query proved that I was indeed handling the majority of the workload within our department with over 2200 purchase orders out of 5900 and $27M out of $71M.
By stipulating in writing that I was unauthorized to request PTO in a documentable method and that any request for time off must be done verbally Mr. Brian Meckes was clearly setting the stage to use this against me. I had predicted that this would be the case, and I was 100% correct. This was another intentional, blatant, and malicious act of retaliation that was ignored by the EEOC.
It must be noted that my personal investigation into the negligence of the EEOC has revealed that the office and staff of the Raleigh Office was infiltrated and corrupted.
Dr. John Palmour (stocknursse), Cree Executive VP, Mr. Ty Mitchell (smokebulletin), Cree VP, and Mr. Jim Schnieders (fncydansir) ( This individual's profession is as a conservator /guardian. He is a member of the Professional Fiduciary Association of California. He holds License #177 in California. He has an unlisted business telephone number which is (818) 249-5949. His last official filing in 2010 shows that he manages about $22 million for his clients) have publicly admitted this criminal act on the Yahoo Finance Message Board for Cree, Inc.
I have already provided this information to the Senators and/or their staff. I personally spoke with Mr. Jim Schnieders on April 9 2009 at the United States of America EEOC office in Raleigh, North Carolina. Mr. Schnieders was acting as the EEOC receptionist on that date.
In conclusion the evidence is overwhelming that not only did Cree conspire to and illegally replace the older employees in Purchasing with younger employees, but they also committed numerous acts of retaliation against those employees that spoke up about the illegal acts – especially me.
The retaliation continues to this day. Go to the Yahoo Finance Message Board for Cree and see for yourself.