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Girl Documents Discrimination and Animal Cruelty at a Petco in Texas
The Cover Up Movie Poster
It All Started in October of 2015
It all started in October of 2015 when Candice Rogers, an employee of Petco in Austin, Texas, began to notice a pattern at the store. She had been working at the store part-time since the year 2013, and up until then things ran smoothly, but not for long. In the month of October promotions started to come around for positions due to the assistant manager transferring to another store. One of the co-workers by the name of Lisa Gonzalez, an Hispanic openly gay woman, knew the assistant manager who left, his position would be opening soon. Rogers spoke to Gonzalez and found out Gonzalez was waiting for the store manager to tell her when to apply for the position. In the mean time, Rogers wished Gonzalez the best of luck at the promotion.
Two weeks later, Gonzalez wouldn't receive the promotion even though she'd been working at the store for five years, had good work ethic, and any tardiness or absences she had were all excusable. The promotion for the assistant store manager went to a white male who had only been at the store for less than an year, was often tardy, and had a questionable work ethic.
Rogers didn't think to much of it until another round of promotions came for a new position that opened. Again Gonzalez was looked over, wasn't told about the opening, and a white male was promoted into that position. Gonzalez was so distraught over the unfairness of the store, she called human resources to file a complaint.
"You don't have any experience in aquatics"
During this whole time, Rogers wasn't paying too much attention because she figured it was just an coincidence Gonzalez didn't get any of the promotions, twice. That is until it happened to her. Another promotion came about for an position titled Small Companion Animal Manager. Rogers, being at the store for two years, not ever calling in,nor a tardy, figured she'd apply for the position to get a pay raise, since at the time she was only making 8.66 an hour.
Rogers applied for the position even though she heard talks they were trying to promote a white male who only been at the store for two months, who called in often, and who was often late coming into work. Rogers was confused by these rumors but decided to let them go. Then she heard rumors they hired someone for the position, someone outside the store, and come to find out, the rumors were true, and it was a white male.
When Rogers sat with the store manager, he had told her the reason she didn't get the position was because she didn't have any experience in aquatics. That was odd because Rogers knew that experience in aquatics wasn't needed in order to be the Small Animal Companion Manager; it says so right in the Petco Policy, experience isn't necessary but a test must be taken by the person who gets the position which Rogers had faith she would easily pass.
It all didn't seem right, and she confronted the store manager that the only people who were getting promotions at the store were white males only. White males with little experience, whom hadn't been at the store for a lengthy time, and who had questionable work ethic. The store manager told Rogers he promised he would promote her to that position if it ever came open again.
Let the Discrimination Begin!
The manager who was given the SACM title soon left the store, and again Rogers wasn't given the promotion she was promised; as a result, she filed a complaint to human resources, her and Gonzalez soon sought an lawyer.
As the months went by, more and more females were being denied promotions, and those who were LGBT were being harassed to the point to quitting, or the store manager would simply fire them. One gay male would quit due to being brought to tears from harassment of the store manager. Another gay male was fired for missing a day of work even though the assistant manager would often changed the schedule without notifying employees, and the store manager knew it, yet did nothing about it. An transgender male was fired for coming to work late once, just once, and Gonzalez who had been working at Petco for five years was fired because she had 11 points. Points that many of the white male employees also had if not more.
Animals Don't Come First
The sad thing about it, when the store manager began discriminating, the well being of the animals went down hill. Because not only were good employees who cared about the animals leaving because of the harassment, and discrimination but the horrible employees who didn't care care about the animals were being promoted.
Rogers on her Tumblr often spoke about being off for two to three days at a time, and coming back to the store where the ferrets were sleeping in their own feces, where the animals didn't have any water in their water bottles, where the animals' habitats hadn't been cleaned for days. Rogers would then take the extra time to go and give the animals food, give the animals water, clean their habitats. She was amazed that the position she was denied was given to an employee who just didn't give a damn!
More animals began to die at the store because of the lack of care. Many animals were getting sick with colds, diseases such as wet tail, or dying from their injuries. Many weren't even eating such as the bearded dragons. The wellness area of Petco where they kept sick and injured animals was constantly full where animals were constantly dying.
In the image you see to the right, that bird which is dead was sitting in that cage for about two if not more hours...dead. Rogers was told by a group of teenagers about the dead bird, and how the teenagers tried to get other employees aware but those other employees would simply walk away. One of the teens took the picture sending it to Rogers and thanking her for taking the dead bird away from the other birds, afraid of what could spread.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
After speaking with Rogers via Tumblr, she seemed optimistic that things would change at the Petco store although she's no longer there. She hopes the documentary would bring light to situation such as discrimination and animal cruelty. "The saddest thing about me leaving was leaving the animals because I know they're not getting the proper care they need," said Rogers.
I too hope that things will change at this store for the better, and that all people regardless can be given fair opportunities to improve themselves, and employees whom actually care for the well being of the animals will over rule the ones who don't at stores like these.