- Joseph Lawski
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Mr. Lawski, a local resident of Hilton Head Island, SC can be found at Bogey's Coffee shop, along with a group of his friends sitting together drinking coffee and reminiscing about their time spent during Vietnam era, as well as their years growing up in the south, in Mr. Lawski’s case, Columbus, GA. At first glance this would appear to be a normal group of friends, but upon closer inspection, their T-shirts catch your eye. Each one wears a T-shirt, depicting a Duck with its bill duct taped together with "Shut the DUCK Up!" inscribed in bold letters. These T -shirts are a silent protest to AFLAC' s failure to do the right thing.
Mr. Joseph Lawski, a veteran of the United States Armed Forces, is a former employee of AFLAC, or its predecessor entity. Mr. Lawski worked with the company from about 1966 through 1969. However, to date Mr. Lawski has been unsuccessful in his attempts to either have AFLAC acknowledge the dates of his employment, or address his request for compensation for his financial contributions to the Company's Profit Sharing plan. (Please see prior press release attached herewith.)
AFLAC's failure to acknowledge Mr. Lawski has even led him to file suit in Federal District Court, in the hopes he can recover what is rightfully his. Mr. Lawski has not requested anything more than what he is entitled to and to what he is sure that his old friend, Mr. John Amos would want him to have. AFLAC's actions definitely show that they are not all they are "quaked" up to be.
"VIETNAM ERA WAR VETERAN FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST AFLAC FOR FAILURE TO PAY BENEFITS OWED TO HIM”
Mr. Joseph Lawski, a veteran of the United States Armed Forces, is a former employee of AFLAC, or its predecessor entity. Mr. Lawski worked with the company from about 1967 through 1969. However, to date Mr. Lawski has been unsuccessful in his attempts to either have AFLAC acknowledge the dates of his employment, or address his request for compensation for his financial contributions to the Company's Profit Sharing plan. Mr. Lawski's story is remarkable. As a very young boy, Mr. Lawski was fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time.
In 1966 Mr. Lawski was employed as a grocery bagger for the A&P in Columbus, Georgia. During this time, he became acquainted with Mr. John Amos. In fact, Mr. John Amos befriended Mr. Lawski. Mr. Lawski was a very talented young man and he used to play his guitar for Mr. John Amos' family and friends. During this acquaintance Mr. John Amos asked Mr. Lawski whether he would like to come and work for AFLAC.shortly thereafter, Mr. John Amos hired Mr. Lawski to work as a Computer Operator, under the supervision of Mr. Vince Wilborn. Mr. Lawski recalls being in awe and "blown away" when he saw the AFLAC computer room. Mr. Lawski specifically remembers working on the IBM 1401 computer which could play "Dixie" and tic-tac-toe.
At the beginning of Mr. Lawski's employment with AFLAC, Mr. Lawski was still enrolled in highschoo1, at Baker High School. Mr. Lawski would go to school for a half day and then worked the second shift from 4:00 p.m until 12:00 a.m. at AFLAC. Mr. Lawski graduated from Baker High School in 1967. Mr. John Amos took every opportunity that he could to expose Mr. Lawski to all of the high level managers who worked with AFLAC. Mr. Lawski recalls meeting Mr. Melvin Chaffee, the Manager of the print shop (before it became COMMUNICORP), This meeting Chaffee is particularly memorable to Mr. Lawski who is now a professional magician, as Mr. Chaffee taught him one of his first magic tricks, the “sleight of hand”. After Mr. Lawski graduated from high school he wanted to further his education in the field of computers. Mr. Lawski attended Columbus Tech, earning an Associates Degree in Computer Programming while continuing to work at AFLAC in its Data Processing Department. During Mr. Lawski’s employment with AFLAC, he recalls that the company took payroll deductions out of his paycheck every two weeks to make his contributions to its Profit Sharing program.
In 1969, Mr. Lawski’s employment with AFLAC was cut off short due to Mr. Lawski being drafted into the United States Navy. Mr. Lawski remained in the Navy until he was honorably discharged in 1974. During Mr. Lawski's time in the Navy, he maintained his computer skills and proficiency. Mr. Lawski returned to AFLAC after being released from the Navy, to resume his employment, as he had been advised. However. when Mr. Lawski returned to AFLAC' he was given a position in the mail room and that his position in the computer room had been filled in his absence.
Mr. Lawski, was not only upset with this change, but he was in shock. Mr. Lawski did not understand how AFLAC could give his job away, while he was serving this countrv in the Navy. Mr. Lawski did complain about this change. But his complaints went unanswered. The only way for Mr. Lawski to get back to working with computers was to get a job in the Federal Government. Mr. Lawski eventually took a job in San Diego, California with the Department of Defense GS-9 Computer Specialist Civil Service.
Mr. Lawski returned to Columbus, Ga. In 1989 to visit his mother, while there, Mr. Lawski went to see his old friend Mr. John Amos at AFLAC. When Mr. John Amos found out that Mr. Lawski was a Magician he hired him to perform for him and the members of the OPEC Cartel who were visiting Mr. John Amos in Atlanta, Ga. They had a private party for the ministers at Mr. John Amos’ home. While Mr. Lawski was entertaining at Mr. Johns home a representative of AFLAC informed Mr. Lawski that he should be entitled to receive company shares based upon the prior deductions that had been taken out his pay check. Mr. Lawski inquired about this by contacting AFLAC’s Department of Human Resources. However, he was told that the Company did not maintain its records dating back that far.
On another occasion, Ms. Linda Hamby, who was then the head of AFLAC’s Human Relations Department, informed Mr. Lawski that there was no company record of him ever having worked for AFLAC. How could this be? Mr. Lawski was sure that he had not made up the fact that Mr. John Amos befriended him and hired him to work in the AFLAC computer room. While the story sounds amazingly unbelievable, Mr. Lawski knew it was true. Ms. Hamby eventually advised Mr. Lawski that after talking to a few people, she was able to find a few that remembered Mr. Lawski working with AFLAC. Mr. Lawski has been trying unsuccessfully to prove that he was not only an employee of AFLAC, but that he was entitled to benefits that AFLAC failed to give him. Namely, AFLAC maintained an Employee Stock Bonus Plan, during the time Mr. Lawski was employed with AFLAC. During Mr. Lawski’s employment with AFLAC, the Employment Retirement Income Security Act, known today as ERISA, had not been enacted. However, when ERISA became effective in 1974, all pre-ERISA plans either had to be converted to ERISA plans, or the plan benefits had to be paid out to the participants. AFLAC never converted the pre-ERISA Employee Stock Bonus Plan to an ERISA plan. More importantly, and to Mr. Lawski’s detriment Mr. Lawski was never compensated for his share of AFLAC common stock and/or cash that has accrued during the time he was employed with AFLAC and the time that he was serving this country in the Armed Forces. There may be hundreds of stories similar to Mr. Lawski’s story. Mr. Lawski has not requested anything more than what he is entitled to and to what he is sure that his old friend, Mr. John Amos would want him to have.
During an interview in 2000 for AFLAC’s Annual Report, Mr. Paul S. Amos, was asked”How have the Amos’ Family values and the fact that the company was founded by a family influenced the culture of AFLAC?” Mr. Paul S. Amos responded by saying, “Far and away, the most important thing to the Amos family has been respect and caring for those with whom we work. We are a family that has always subscribed to the Christian Faith. We truly believe we should follow the commandment Jesus gave us in the New Testament – ‘Do on to others as you would have them do unto you.’ I believe these values are the foundation of AFLAC’s culture. When AFLAC was founded, not a single AMOS brother had money or experience in the insurance business. Today, AFLAC is one of the most successful insurance companies founded in the past 50 years. We can only conclude that God’s guiding hand was ever present.” Mr. Lawski hopes that AFLAC’s Christian and family oriented foundation will compel it to act after reading Mr. Lawski’s story..
Joseph Lawski aka Joseph the magician
Phone # 843-368-7338
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