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  #31  
Old 02-05-2016, 08:00 PM
silverstaff silverstaff is offline
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Quote:
Quoth Seanette View Post
(doing the Snoopy dance of joy) VERY happy for you!

Any word on how fast that lying supervisor's career has gone down in flames?
Well, I haven't exactly peeked in at what's going on there. I've been silent to my former co-workers because of the pending case.

They can't just fire him, as that level of supervisor is also a merit system job, so it's as hard to fire him as it would have been to fire me after that magic day had passed.

I've got no idea how that's going to shake out, to be honest. The order saying I should be reinstated makes no mention of the place to which I'm to be reinstated, although I'm requesting it NOT be to that same office, due to the obvious hostile work environment situations it creates.

Now the key issues are
1. Does the State lodge an appeal in court and drag this out more (but also making my back pay keep piling up), or walk away and cut losses. Also, appealing this means it goes into open court, instead of the more closed realm of administrative hearings.

2. Does my former agency try to put me back in that same office, working for the supervisors who lied and falsified documents to fire me.

Quote:
Quoth Kiwi View Post
woohoo!!!!!

Go the back pay and seniority!

Do you actually want to go back? What about the other job that sounded promising?
The question is, do I have to accept the reinstatement to get the back pay? Can I accept it and then immediately resign it to collect back pay and seniority, so that I can say I resigned to go back to my old PD?

I don't know the answers yet, but better to have to choose between two jobs than have none.

I honestly hated it at that old job, I had already planned on trying to find a new job when my probationary period was up and having the big strike against me of having been terminated by another agency while probationary was probably making it impossible for other agencies to want to hire me.

  #32  
Old 02-08-2016, 09:04 PM
silverstaff silverstaff is offline
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I figure I can share something now that I found in Discovery, something that, while it didn't change the legal facts of the case, made it quite clear as to the character of my former boss.

I was able to piece together the timeline of how exactly I got terminated, and what the token excuse/last straw that started all this was.

Rewind back about a year. On February 16, 2015 there was a HUGE snowstorm around here, we got 18 inches of snow that day. Around here, that's a once-in-a-decade level snow.

My bosses boss had been griping at me constantly over reports going late, which is to say that he assigned them to be due when I was at my military duties and when I couldn't complete them because of duties, he penalized me for it. After my military duties in August 2014, I was sternly warned that if any reports went late again, that it would have "negative consequences" for my career with that agency. It was pretty clear he was implying I would be fired.

At the same time, my workload there increased. I went from having about 4 reports due a week, to having 6 or 7 due a week, and thus went from my normal 40 hour work week, to working 50 to 60 hours most weeks to keep up.

Well, I would be off my probationary status on March 1, 2015. That gigantic snowstorm hit on February 16, with snow starting around 8 AM, right as people are getting to work. By noon, there are several inches of snow on the ground, with over a foot more forecast for the next 12 hours. Most of my co-workers have left work by noon. Everyone sees me sitting there, working in my office.

I'm working trying to get reports done, because of that threat to my job if any reports go late.

I leave at 8 PM that night, after a 12-hour workday, with the biggest snowstorm in a decade going on outside. My normal 15-minute commute home becomes 90 minutes because of being stuck in the snow 3 times just driving down the streets of my city and trying to get home. I can't even pull in my driveway, I just park on the street and march through over a foot of snow to get to my front door.

I see on the evening news that the courts in my county are closed this week due to the storm, all non-emergency cases would be delayed (presumably arraignments and other things that by law have to happen in a specific timeframe would still happen, they can do those by video from the jail, but sentencings and hearings and such would be postponed) .

My reports were turned in to the courts. There was still another 6 inches of snow forecast for overnight, and it was risky and dangerous just getting home, and going back to work tomorrow seemed even worse. My bosses wouldn't let me telecommute because VPN access was restricted to supervisors only by policy, and many of our require systems for our job had to be accessed from our own network, which meant either being on-site, or a VPN connection.

So, I texted my immediate supervisor. I noted that between the road conditions, declared state of emergency, and court being closed, would there be any problems with me not coming in to work tomorrow due to the snow. She told me it would be fine, she just wanted to know how many reports would not get done. I told her one report was due tomorrow that would be delayed, just like the case would already be delayed due to the courts being closed. I figured since I had permission from my immediate supervisor, and the extreme weather conditions, and the fact that the courts would be closed so there wasn't even anyone to turn the report over to at the courthouse, it wouldn't be a problem.

Well, it took a few days for the roads to be passable. Everyone came back to work on Friday, basically from Tuesday through Thursday the entire office was closed. Supervisors and Officers didn't come in. Everyone came in on Friday, I came in that morning, sat down at my desk, and started to log in and get things going.

My bosses boss, the head of the office and one who kept threatening me storms in and gets an accusing tone and asks me "Silverstaff, why did a report not get turned in on Tuesday?

I respond to him that I was snowed in under a foot and a half of snow, that the courts were closed so there was nobody to turn it in to, and that I had express permission from my immediate supervisor for that report to go late due to weather. The head of the office gets a scowl on his face and storms out.

I thought I'd covered my ass rather well. I'd even used text messages so I could pull up the texts and show them (these texts got submitted at the hearing as evidence).

. . .what I learned in Discovery, through a subpoena of the relevant e-mails, was that said boss had immediately turned around and e-mailed the regional assistant director (the person who I mentioned in my original post as the one who told me I was fired) saying that he had discussed it with my immediate supervisor and they felt that I needed to be terminated as a subpar employee. The assistant director wanted some kind of documentation, so they e-mailed back half an hour later with a memorandum listing all my "failures", which is to say a litany of every report that I had "missed" (omitting that it was due to military reasons). . .and putting the one that was not turned in due to weather as the last one. Then a litany of every tiny error I'd made in the job, as in every single incredibly petty procedural error I'd made in preparing reports early on when I was still learning the process.

I got to read in the e-mails how my bosses argued with HR for two days over whether or not I could be fired (there was some confusion, due to my transfer from another police department, on whether or not I was probationary or not, eventually they decided I was). . .so then they had to take it to the Director himself for final approval.

The Director looked at the list of reasons to fire me. . .and explicitly said it was a very weak justification for termination, especially right at the end of someone's probationary period, and since the justification was very weak, the Director wanted to be absolutely certain that I was not of any "protected class" which could appeal or contest this. He'd sign off on the dismissal if the supervisors wanted it. . .but he clearly had reservations, he was assured that I was not of any kind of protected class and would have no grounds to contest the dismissal. . .and based on that, the Director approved my termination at a little after 10 that morning.

I remember what happened right after that, I didn't know it at the time, but the big boss called all the supervisors in to an emergency meeting in my immediate supervisor's office. Nobody knew what was going on, apparently they were telling that I was to be terminated later that day. The Assistant Director came in from the state capitol that afternoon and that's when I got the call that lead to the

So, that's what I found out in Discovery. Not only did he list all my times I'd had reports not in on time due to him trying to make me work, he essentially fired me (or the "last straw") was due to a report going late because I didn't come in during the biggest snowstorm in a decade. . .when he left that morning and didn't come in that day either.

  #33  
Old 02-09-2016, 12:24 PM
silverstaff silverstaff is offline
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Quoth Kogarashi View Post
Wow. The head of the office sounds like a brat who really didn't like you and basically manufactured flimsy excuses to get rid of you just because of that. Here's hoping he gets some comeuppance.
He had a HUGE power trip, in that he felt working for that agency trumped everything else in the world, including my military and family obligations. He told me, at one point when chewing me out over missing reports due to military obligations, that he didn't care what it was, that even if my own mother died I would be expected to pull an all-nighter or whatever marathon shift would be needed to make sure that no assignments went late due to me taking bereavement leave. . .because he insists he did the same thing as a young officer writing those same reports, and when his own mother died he worked a 36 hour shift to finish all his work for the week before leaving work to make funeral arrangements.

He was a smarmy, very political-seeming guy. He reminds me a little of a used car salesman or slimy politician in his demeanor, except with a more expensive suit. Always smiling, but always plotting something behind that smile. I guess that's how he maneuvered his way to being a supervisor.

He is the one who made the decision to hire me, so it's clear at some point he liked me because I got the job ahead of 20 other applicants. However, once I was out of the academy he started liking me a lot less. Instead of being assigned to field work, I was put to doing nothing but filling out those reports, and the Officer who was supposed to be my training officer/mentor to show me the on-the-job training part of things and how to do those reports. . .goes on a 3-week vacation that starts literally the first day I was to report back after the Academy. My immediate supervisor had also decided to take two weeks of vacation starting that day.

So, I report in, straight from the Academy, with my new desk job. . .and ZERO guidance on how to do my job. Preparing these reports wasn't covered at the academy because they expect you get on-the-job training for that and that those reports are only one tiny line-item on the whole job description (of a big job description for that kind of Officer, I spent 90%+ of my time on that one task. . .so most of the other officers didn't have to do them at all). The official policy document on those reports was very minimalist.

So, with zero training and no management guidance on how to prepare them, and the first ones being due only a couple of days after I report back from the Academy, I try to slam out reports. . .and apparently fell very short of their standards with them.

The courts and attorneys didn't say anything, I honestly think they don't look too closely at the reports, they are required by law to be prepared, but of these big 10+ page reports, all they usually really care about is a few key sections. However, when my supervisor came back from vacation. . .she tore into me about how bad these reports were. . .then the big boss called me into his office and tore into me about how bad these reports were and how I am not taking preparing these reports, and thus my job, seriously enough, and any protests that I wasn't given enough training were ignored and told it was my fault for not seeking more help (one way or the other).

After that they treated me a lot rougher in the office, and it was a month after that, where they told me I'd have to do reports that would be due when I was on military duties and start dinging me for them going late due to my military obligations.

  #34  
Old 02-11-2016, 12:07 PM
silverstaff silverstaff is offline
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Quoth Sandman View Post
Too bad you can't share this with the media...
My plan, if the attorney for the State appeals this, is to go to the media.

Well, two things in my plan.

First is to get an attorney. I talked to lots of attorneys, who weren't willing to represent me because it was an administrative hearing instead of a court case. I DID have the Veterans Services office of my local Legal Aid agency say they were willing to get me a pro bono attorney. . .but none of the ones they could find were willing to do this for an administrative hearing, they all said to come back if/when it got to a courtroom.

Yes, I won this case (so far) entirely pro se, against an attorney for the state.

The second thing is to go to the media. Once this leaves the quiet, cloistered confines of the State Personnel Board, it hits open court. . .and the media can get wind of it. . .and I'll happily make sure they do.

I'm sure the local papers will be quite happy to hear about how a State Government agency fired an Officer of the Law due to him having to take time off for military duties, and how a board ruled it was an unlawful termination. . .yet the state is still pressing it on appeal.

. . .if they don't appeal it, I just wait for the final order to be published and work out with the Personnel Cabinet the details of my return to work, such as returning to work at a different office, since I'm sure that neither I, nor my former boss, want to work together again and that would be a remarkably hostile work environment.

The terms of their surrender. . .
  #35  
Old 02-12-2016, 07:57 PM
silverstaff silverstaff is offline
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Default The terms of their surrender. . .

More good news!

I got a call about an hour ago from the attorney for the state.

The Director of my former agency has decided they want to "settle" the case.

Apparently, final decisions of the board get published to the public record, and they would rather NOT see the decision in this matter get published.

So, the attorney says they want to void my dismissal, and make it so that, retroactively, I was actually never fired in the first place, give me back pay, and give me my choice of new work offices (they named 4 offices in the area as suitable, I told them which one I wanted).

In exchange, I have to drop my appeal before it is published as a final order.

They want to meet with me next week to discuss the formal terms of the "settlement". . .which from the sound of things is basically their surrender and maneuvering to keep the fact they fired an Officer for taking military leave off of public records.

  #36  
Old 02-12-2016, 08:54 PM
silverstaff silverstaff is offline
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Quote:
Quoth eltf177 View Post
CONGRATULATIONS!

Sounds like you can get a place to work that won't be hostile, but make that a condition - any problems and they can expect another lawsuit to be filed.

Pity you can't put your ex-boss through the wringer with this...
Well, under the conditions they tentatively offered over the phone, I get my choice of which office I could go back to. I'll be going back with what they call "Merit" status, which means it's next to impossible to fire an employee with that status. It basically means that to fire me for any reason, they have to take me back to that same board that just ruled in my favor and show to a very high standard that they have cause to fire me (it's often colloquially called an "Act of God" to fire an employee with that status).

Given that the order to settle had to come down from either the Director of the agency, or the cabinet secretary above the Director. . .I can only imagine that the Director or Secretary had to chew my former boss's ass big time over this.

One thing I realized, or more accurately, some of my friends have pointed out, is they'll probably demand an NDA to keep me from telling the press about this incident. I very much got a "we're sweeping this whole thing under the rug" vibe from the attorney over all this. If I get an NDA, I probably won't be able to (or shouldn't) keep posting in this thread on this matter.

  #37  
Old 02-12-2016, 09:07 PM
silverstaff silverstaff is offline
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Quoth Sliceanddice View Post
One yay for the win

two make sure they have a full contract available for this because I think it would be important to have the terms of the settlement in writing for both parties. No more stupid people able to make their own minds up about your validity.
I'm not dropping anything without a clear and unambiguous written agreement that makes it clear the following things:

1. I'm returning to work as an Officer of [AgencyName].
2. I'm returning to work at the specific office that they offered and I agreed to.
3. I'm getting seniority and status as if I was never terminated and there is no negative comments or blemish on my personnel record from this incident.
4. I'm getting back pay from my date of dismissal to my date of reinstatement, with deductions only those allowed by law (unemployment benefits and my balance of vacation time they cashed in upon my termination).

I'm thinking those are the requirements I would need to ask for.

I'm expecting them to ask that I drop my appeal to the board (which they already asked for) and for them to ask for an NDA related to this. . .and that this will mean they won't bog it down with frivolous appeals they know they'll lose.

  #38  
Old 02-12-2016, 09:19 PM
silverstaff silverstaff is offline
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Quoth NorthernZel View Post
Well, why should you? You got the problem solved, you got reinstated in an office of your own choice AND offered backpay... one should be a BIG drama-hunting queen to ask for an update on that.

Congrats on your victory!
Basically means I couldn't come here and post that it was signed and finalized.

If I go silent on this out of nowhere. . .it's because of final victory.

  #39  
Old 02-13-2016, 10:31 AM
silverstaff silverstaff is offline
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The main advantages I get in settling, so far, appear to be that I can choose what office I want to work at when I go back (and one of them is only a mile down the road from where my wife works, and is literally right across the street from the martial arts dojo I study at), and that they won't tie this up in frivolous appeals (they have an appellate right on this decision that could easily tie this up for another year at least, maybe several years if the court finds any substantial grounds for the appeal, and the attorney mentioned that if we didn't come to an agreement by the end of next week, she's have to file an appeal)

I've looked into that appeal process, it is known to drag on and on apparently. I'd been waiting nervously every day when checking the mail to see if they were going to file an appeal, because while I know I should win on appeal (as in the court upholds the decision). . .it would also drag this out a long time.

If I don't settle, they drag it out in appeals for a year or more, and they don't have to give me a choice of where I go back to work, they can name the most inconvenient office that's within a 50 mile radius of my house and name that as my new workplace.

So, if I settle, I can be back to work on March 1 (basically turning my termination retroactively into a year of paid vacation), with everything the board would give me in their ruling, at an office that's very convenient to me. . .if I don't, this could take a year or more before I go back to work and they send me to the most inconvenient place they can find, all to get this on the public record of what they did.

Is it worth another year of unemployment and possibly getting a sucky work location when it's all said and done just to have this mess go on the public record?

I very much get the vibe that they're trying to bury this mess and make it go away, and that means making it worth it for me to shut up and go back to work.

  #40  
Old 02-17-2016, 09:13 PM
silverstaff silverstaff is offline
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I just got another call from the attorney, about a couple of hours ago. She got permission to agree to the terms I had proposed. I'm meeting with her next week to sign the amended deal. Amended meaning that one of the things I asked for last week was apparently not in the deal she was prepared/authorized to offer.

As for the idea they were trying something, well. Apparently her initial permission to settle and initial offer didn't include the back pay that I was entitled to, she had to spend a few days getting permission for the back pay. Hence why I'm going in next week to sign the settlement agreement instead of this week.

The fact that I mentioned the back pay and specified it (and cited the law gave me the right to it) was something she (and her bosses in senior leadership) didn't count on. It looks like they were hoping I'd be so quick to jump on the settlement that I'd forget to ask for the back pay.

Also, when the attorney was talking to me last week, she thought I had gone back to work at my old police department, she didn't look too closely into that I guess, and if I had, then I would only be entitled to the pay that was the difference between my pay from there, which would be only a few thousand dollars.

Which makes sense, the back pay I'll be due (after taking out unemployment benefits, and the law that entitles me to back pay requires that to be taken out) is almost $30k (before taxes). I can see them wanting to slip that one by me, but I didn't let them. I wasn't about to pass that one by, as my wife and me have already agreed to use that money towards down payment on a house.

As for an NDA, if they insist on a hardline one where I can't tell anyone about anything whatsoever, I'm explaining to all my friends, family, and my leadership at the National Guard and such what's going on, so that if they insist on a hardline NDA, and I can't talk about it from here on out, they'll know what happened because I'll have told them what was happening before I signed the NDA (and they didn't mention one in the verbal negotiations we had so far, I'm just presuming they'll want one). I have discussed the basics of this settlement with an attorney I know (one of the ones who said he couldn't represent me before the board, because he doesn't know enough about protocol for administrative hearings to feel competent to do so) and that was his advice on how to handle letting people know, since they haven't asked me to sign an NDA yet and I haven't signed one yet (or been asked to sign one yet), let people know what is happening so if I DO have to sign one and shut up, people will know what happened, even if I can't talk about it anymore.

I'm not asking for anybody to be demoted, I'm not being vindictive, I'm not going to ask for anything more than what I'm due by law. I just want to go back to work, do my job, and get the back pay and seniority I am due by law.

As for trying to rush things through, I realize why. The board WILL make their final ruling on this case soon, unless I file to dismiss my appeal, so they want the settlement to come down before they can give the final ruling. Hence the pressure to settle quickly, because this all goes on the record at the next board meeting at the end of the month.

As for ensuring that my former boss can never be over me, well, I don't want to be too specific, but the details of the new assignment/posting that's in the settlement offer would make it very difficult and unlikely for him to be over me, given how the agency is set up. It gives me a work location that's rather convenient for me, and is such that my boss could never be above me unless he got promoted to VERY high in the agencies chain of command, and after this mess and how much he's costing them to sweep it under the rug, I doubt him getting that many promotions will happen (also, given the protections I would have, going back as an employee off my probationary period, his ability to directly harm me would be limited even if he did get that high up, for him to make any serious personnel action against me would have to go back before the same board I'm appealing to right now).

As for my co-workers knowing what's up. My new supervisor at least would have to know I'm not just another transfer. . .I wouldn't have a badge, gun, handcuffs (and all my old user accounts on various databases ect. are certainly deactivated now) ect and would have to get all that stuff issued to me. He'd have to know *something* was up that this guy is showing up, off probationary status, personnel paperwork giving me a couple of years of seniority, but without any equipment or user accounts or anything else.

A guy at my National Guard unit is a part of the same agency, albeit in a different division than the one I was at. He said he hasn't heard anything about my case in the rumor mill, but his theory is that what happened with me will probably be in the supervisor training modules for decades under "Don't do this to someone!" because of how much the back pay will cost them. Seriously, my former bosses mistake is costing them a nice five-figure sum, and we're facing some tough budget conditions and cuts right now.

We're filing out taxes later this week, so we're going to talk to our tax preparer about how this can affect things (i.e. will this settlement count as income for last year and we'll need to file an amended return, or will it count on this year so we'll just deal with it next year, ect).
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