‘Quality of life’: A look inside UVM Sodexo

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 Cindy Smith sat across from a Sodexo human resources representative and cried. 

It was April 19, 17 days after Smith was told she would have a meeting with UVM Sodexo management to see if — and when — she could come back to work.

When Smith was suspended April 2, it was a result of Sodexo’s attendance policy. Implemented in 2012 at Sodexo facilities nationwide, “investigatory leave” is a way to deal with employees work performance, according to the 2013 UVM Sodexo Unit Specific Work Rules.

Since its implementation, Sodexo employees said the policy incentivizes them to remain at work even when sick, in fear of accumulating “occurrences” and losing their jobs.

When the policy started, “occurrences” were referred to as “points,” however the terminology was changed in 2013 to use “occurrences” rather than “points,” according to the work rules.

In her meeting with human resources, Smith said she was finally able to share her side of the story with someone who said they were “on her side.”

Smith’s story is of her and her coworkers being forced to come to work sick, of the stress they experienced, of complaints being ignored. Smith ultimately shared what she saw as health concerns all around her. She and her co-workers have been afraid to tell anyone, she said. UVM and Sodexo officials say these policies are fair and don’t penalize sick employees for leaving work.

“There’s a lot of shit that goes down in that kitchen that nobody knows,” Smith said to the representative.

 

Read the full story here.

 

[Update – April 29, 4:28 p.m.: On April 29, Cindy Smith was fired from her job at Cook Commons. She was told it was because she got too many “points” from absences and from “insubordination.”]