THE MONSTER OF EAGLE BUTTE, SOUTH DAKOTA
It has been a long time since we have run across as despicable a federal manager as the one at an HHS office there. When an employee, a clinical pharmacist, filed an EEO complaint back in 2017, her third line manager apparently lost his mind. He blocked her from getting a retention bonus she had been earned and that she was recommended for by two lines of management, threatened her with disciplinary action and demotion, tripled the number of reviews of her work, made her back off a proposed termination of an employee for a mistake that threatened patients’ lives, and then required the EEO complainant, Jacquetta, give the near-terminated employee a perfect rating.
The pharmacist resigned, but filed a new EEO complaint alleging she left due to a constructive discharge. The Commission has established three elements which a complainant must prove to substantiate a claim of constructive discharge: (1) a reasonable person in the complainant’s position would have found the working conditions intolerable; (2) the conduct that constituted discrimination against the complainant created the intolerable working conditions; and (3) the complainant’s involuntary resignation resulted from the intolerable working conditions.
EEOC found that the HHS executive pursued a vendetta against this employee in part based on her prior EEO activity. The conditions that he created for her were such that a reasonable person would find them intolerable. It ordered the agency to retroactively reinstate the employee as of May 26, 2018 with extra money to cover any increased income tax burden the lump sum will cause her and to include the retention bonus she was improperly denied. It also ordered the agency to consider disciplining the executive who did this.
Frankly, we would not leave it up to the agency to take the proper disciplinary actions. Given that the executive ordered the employee to issue a false federal document in the form of a perfect performance appraisal we would contact the Office of Special Counsel and blow the “waste, fraud, and abuse” whistle. OSC has the authority not just to discipline, but also fine and bar the manager from federal service for several years. They seem more appropriate penalties for this kind of person who deserves to be hunted down by villagers.
For more details, check out Jacquetta C., v. Alex M. Azar, II, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services. Agency. EEOC No. 2019002196 (2020)