Devoted husband wary of job offer
The Tribune-Democrat PAINT —
A company that fired a 13-year employee as his wife lay dying of brain cancer said Wednesday it has offered him his job back – with back pay.
But Bernard Chippie, a sales representative for carpet-cleaning company Rug Doctor, said he isn’t sure if the offer is valid – or if he’d take it if it were.
“I don’t think the offer is one of compassion. They’re afraid of what I might do (a lawsuit),” he said .
“They said the owner of the company would call me, but he hasn’t yet,” he said Wednesday evening. “I don’t know whether I would take it or not.”
One qualm would be the fear he could lose unemployment benefits if he didn’t take the job.
And while he hasn’t had any other job offers since the story broke in Wednesday’s Tribune-Democrat, he has had plenty of media interest. He said he has received calls from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Dallas.
Chippie said he notified his employer Feb. 13 that he would not be able to finish his weekly route because he had just learned his wife had between two days and a week to live.
“There was never a question of where I needed to be,” Chippie said. He went to Kathleen Chippie’s bedside at a hospice that day.
Three days later – a Thursday – his boss at Rug Doctor LP demanded that Chippie be at work the next day, Chippie said. He said he couldn’t and was fired, he said.
Kathleen Chippie died that Sunday at age 56.
On Wednesday, Plano, Texas-based Rug Doctor issued a statement saying that Chippie’s firing three days before his wife’s death was “unfortunate.” The company also said there would be no break in seniority if he took his job back.
“We believed this was the appropriate thing to do and look forward to him rejoining our organization with a new beginning,” the statement said.
Previously, company spokesman Jeffrey Rawlings said Rug Doctor went out of its way to accommodate Chippie, who was off many days in the months leading up to his wife’s death. Rawlings had said Chippie used all his vacation, sick days and unpaid leave well before Feb. 13.
Chippie said he was never off more than three days straight and that he had some vacation left.
The sad thing about this is that we all know good and well that this company would not have backed down on this if the media hadn't gotten hold of the story. They know it shows them for the heartless bastards that they are. All the groveling in the world won't change what they have shown themselves to be. I don't think the guy should go back, but that is just my opinion.