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Sunday, August 3, 2014

status?

What is the status of the 5-27-14 10:01am "dismissal" post and the subsequent DOE 708 complaint filed against LLNS?

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

::crickets::

Anonymous said...

The DOE investigation of my 708 complaint is well underway.


Here is some pre-September 2012 background:

On my performance appraisal, my EE/NIF Group Leader, under his PA input, stated I should apply for supervision positions as they become available.

In June of 2011, I filed a complaint with Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) regarding a reoccurring problem with retaliation and job posting transparency at LLNS. In this case, it related to an unposted supervisor (management) assignment opportunity within the Engineering Directorate supporting the National Ignition Facility.

On 3-18-12, the OFCCP Notification of Results of the Investigation (NORI) found the contractor Lawrence Livermore National Security (LLNS) in violation of employment practices as described below:

"...Violation - LLNS did not endure its policies, practices and procedures were implemented when it filled the Acting Supervisor position on May 20, 2011,
so that all qualified applicants and employees are receiving equal opportunity for selection advancement as required by the regulations set forth at 41 CFR
60-2.10 (a) (2) and (3).

In accordance with regulations implementing Executive Order 11246, as amended, the Department now invites LLNL to join with it to resolve this through conciliation by informal means. An Equal Opportunity Specialist
from this office will be in contact with LLNS by March 1, 2012 to to begin the conciliation process..."

(Signed by the Regional Director Pacific Region)

Anonymous said...

More 2013 DOE 708 dismiss complaint information part 1 of 4:

As a 339.2 Engineering Associate, my Administrative Manager for performance appraisals, career discussions, etc., was an Engineering Group Leader. At the point my job “went away” (9-27-12) the Division Technician Superintendent stepped in as my administrative point of contact and the Engineering Group Leader I had reported to for years, took a passive role.

As California Administrative Law Judge put it (DOE/NNSA Reference 34):

“…In October 2012, the claimant was let go from one working group and placed in transition status. He was assigned a supervisor in this transition status,someone who had not worked with the claimant before…”

The Division Superintendent with the *apparent approval of the Division Leader and the Engineering AD, skipped my Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) required draft 2012 performance appraisal meeting. The AD for SHRM, and the Staff Relations Division Leader refused to address this violation of LLNS employment policy. *To my knowledge neither the Division Superintendent or others involved were reprimanded for the decision to skip my 2012 draft performance appraisal. (see 1-15-14 “final incident” for my discharge described by my former Division Superintendent below)

The LLNS Director appointed Independent Reviewer was informed of the skipped 2012 draft performance appraisal step, and on 2-15-13 made these email comments to the current LLNS Staff Relations Leader:

“…I am not qualified to determine whether (former Staff Relations Division Leader) violated LLNS policy…”
“…I am an engineer not a lawyer…”
“…In my opinion, this case is way beyond an Independent Review and another route should be pursued to address his claims and current situation…”

A few details of my 2-15-13 meeting with my Division Leader and Division Superintendent that the Director appointed Independent Reviewer declined to attend:

In this 2-15-13 meeting, I asked to report to a LLNS manager in another division for the reasons listed below and more.

1. Neither my Division Leader or my Division Superintendent were working with me in good
faith.

2. My Division Leader and my Division Superintendent skipped my SHRM required draft 2012
performance appraisal meeting.

3. My Division Leader and the Division Superintendent deleted 2012 final performance
appraisal SKAs listed in my
2011 and prior appraisals, and made negative comments in the 2012 final performance appraisal that I did not have a draft appraisal opportunity to reply to. (This was in direct procedural contrast to the purpose of the LLNS draft performance appraisal as described to the Judge in my 1-15-14 CA Unemployment Appeals Hearing by my Division Superintendent in the testimony below)

4. My Division Leader and Division Superintendent were applying workplace pressure and
strict workplace micromanagement and humiliation tactics not experienced by others in
comparable situations.

5. When I found another SKA fit assignment in their division, as defined by their own
"Workforce Manager", I was told it wasn't available to me. (as documented in DOE/NNSA
Ref #4 dated 12-11-12, DOE/NNSA Ref#6 dated 12-13-12, and DOE/NNSA ref#33 dated
1-30-14)

Anonymous said...

More 2013 DOE 708 dismiss complaint information part 2 of 4:

My proposed solution to address concerns 1-5 above and other concerns, and to deescalate my workplace environment, were derived from the following observations:
1. My EIT charge account number was sourced from the engineering directorate level,
not from a particular engineering division. The EIT policy guidelines, implemented or not,
were at the complete discretion of the divisions and were not effectively monitored for
division to division consistency at the engineering directorate level. There were no EIT rules
forbidding an EIT from transferring to another engineering division.

2. My division managers did not want me employed in their division

3. I found an alternate manger in another division willing to perform the function of my
existing division managers if the Engineering AD and my current division managers
approved.

In this 2-15-13 meeting with my Division Leaders, I proposed to be assigned to another manager in a different division while looking for programmatic work. Being over 50, I communicated to my division managers that we should give **careful pause to consider unnecessary employee stress given the zero value added of continuing a manager-employee relationship with no programmatic “value added” that wasn't otherwise achievable through an alternate manager-employee relationship in a lateral engineering division. This was my attempt to deescalate the situation in a programmatically transparent way.

My Division Superintendent refused to release his administrative role to another equivalent level manager and said he was "going to see this process through until the end" (DOE/NNSA Ref document 10 dated 3-8-13). Soon after this meeting, the Director appointed independent reviewer unilaterally withdrew her assigned role. No alternate employee from the director's pool was allowed to take her place. With the director appointed reviewer out of the picture, I was subsequently suspended for 5 days without pay for reasons that included "threatening" the position of my Division Superintendent on 2-15-13 through my suggestion to report to another engineering manager. (DOE/NNSA ref #10 dated 3-8-13)

**An engineering employee tragically lost his life in November 2012. This person and I both
reported to the same Engineering Division management. I did not and am not saying my
former division managers contributed to this tragedy. However, I was subject to management
abuse, threats, and harassment from my division management. The Director and the
Engineering AD were both acutely aware of the November 2012 tragedy and yet were
unsympathetic to my request for separation from these two division managers in February of
2013. Instead, LLNS Engineering Division management, the AD for Engineering, and Staff
Relations, included my request to separate myself from my Division management in their
suspension justification for proposing the change. I just wanted to move forward in a
constructive way, but LLNS management elected to further escalate the situation.

Anonymous said...

More 2013 DOE 708 dismiss complaint information part 3 of 4:

I spoke to LLNS Health Services about the November 2012 tragedy and on any workplace follow up. She said Health Services coordinated group “grief counseling” but they were not there to “police the issue”.

In September 2013, at a large LLNS employee function, the Engineering AD publically acknowledged by name my National Ignition Facility and Photon Science Award and R&D 100 Award recipient status. My NIF Award was signed by the Principal and Deputy Principal Associate Directors for NIF.
Starting on 9-17-13, I made multiple requests to the NNSA Livermore Field Office (LFO) Manager to address these workplace events that spanned the bulk of the 2013 NNSA LLNS Performance Report period. (DOE/NNSA ref # 24 dated 9-17-13). The LFO Manager declined to reply to my requests for her input. Three days later on 9-20-13, I was dismissed from LLNS employment for reasons described in a memorandum purportedly written by the Engineering AD for “poor performance” and “poor conduct”. The former NNSA LFO manager has since become the NNSA Los Alamos Field Office Manager.
I made a FOIA request through the DOE FOIA website to acquire the complete 2013 NNSA LLNS Performance Report review (not the summary) and referenced my accepted DOE 708 complaint # as justification. My FOIA requested was received by the DOE FOIA Office on 5-7-14. My FOIA request was subsequently forwarded to the NNSA Albuquerque FOIA office. I was required to narrow down my FOIA request. At this time, the requested FOIA data is not being extracted by the NNSA 2013 LFO Performance Report authors, the NNSA LFO managers (?). Instead the FOIA data is being processed and sorted by the contractor in question LLNS. The NNSA LFO will have a “responsive” or “unresponsive” role to the FOIA data LLNS elects to provide to the LFO, at a time when LLNS is concurrently under a FOIA data related DOE 708 complaint review.

Anonymous said...

More 2013 DOE 708 dismiss complaint information part 4 of 4:

Transcribed from my 1-15-14 Unemployment Appeals Hearing audio file:

Judge: “What is your position at Lawrence Livermore?”

LSEO Superintendent: “Engineering Superintendent for Lasers”

Judge: “How long have you had that position?”

LSEO Superintendent: “Ah just over 2 years, 2 years and 2 months”.

Judge: “It is my understanding that you were a supervisor for Mr. ______ is that correct?”

LSEO Superintendent: “Ah, part of the time yah.”

Judge: “What part of the time were you a supervisor for him?”

LSEO Superintendent: “I think I became his supervisor, direct supervisor around September of 12.”

Judge: “OK, and how was it that you became his direct supervisor? What occurred at that time?”

LSEO Superintendent: “There were so many ah, issues that were being addressed with _______’s performance that it was determined that he would report directly to me as the superintendent. Usually there is a layer or two, ah, between us but, there had been a number of performance issues so.”

Judge: “Ok, so what was the reason you had been appointed as his supervisor?”

LSEO Superintendent: “To try to improve the performance”

Judge: “Now it is my understanding that his last day of work was in September and that he was actually let go in October of 2013. Is that correct?”

LSEO Superintendent: “I believe that to be true”

Judge: “Now was there any final incident which finally in which caused the decision to made to discharge him?”

LSEO Superintendent: “Ah, the final incident was _______ refused a meeting to review his draft performance appraisal.”

Judge: “When did that occur?”

LSEO Superintendent: “Ah, the seventeenth of September 13.”

Judge: “What?”

LSEO Superintendent: “September in 2013.”

Judge: “And this was a meeting to review what?”

LSEO Superintendent: “Draft performance appraisal.”

Judge: “What does that mean?”

LSEO Superintendent: “So ah, each employee gets a performance appraisal annually, and ah, this is a meeting to discuss it before it was official so that he could give input if he disagreed with ah, any of the assessment.”


I did not refuse the 2013 draft appraisal meeting, I only proposed delaying it to have a 3rd party present for it and I requested an electronic copy to review while waiting for a response to the 3rd party request. I did not want a repeat of my 2-15-13 meeting with my Division Superintendent and Division Leader when I was refused a 3rd party observer and was subsequently suspended.

As the Judge concluded (DOE/NNSA ref 34):

“…the claimant failed to attend the meeting because he was in the process of trying to change his supervisor and because arrangements had not been made for a third party to be present. Although he had been directed to attend meetings, this was a meeting that was not mandatory and had not been conducted by the employer the previous year. As a result, the claimant did not have notice that missing the draft annual review meeting would result in his termination of employment. The employer has not sustained its burden show the claimant’s conduct was willful or wanton under the circumstances and therefore has not shown misconduct. Accordingly, the employer discharged the claimant for reasons other than misconduct and the claimant is not disqualified for benefits under code section 1256...”

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. It is very interesting and believable (acknowledging that it is probably difficult for you).

Anonymous said...

A manager appears on the scene in September of 2012 as the employees new supervisor the day the employees job "went away" (?). The manager does not use the 2012 draft performance appraisal as an opportunity to communicate alleged "performance issues" (as communicated to the Judge in 2014) in a forthright way, instead the manager or management elects to ignore SHRM policy, skip the employees 2012 draft performance appraisal entirely, and enter alleged "performance issues" directly into the employees 2012 final appraisal without SHRM policy required employee input.

SHRM and Staff Relations refuse to address this 2012 draft performance appraisal "end run". Then under oath, the LLNS manager states the "last incident" was the employees failure to attend his 2013 draft performance appraisal meeting.

In addition to "at will" employment, LLNS appears to have "at will" policies in general.

Anonymous said...

Let us remember that EVERYTHING on the blog on this topic comes from the ex-employee. LLNS won't be able to comment publicly, as a matter of protecting the his right to privacy. So it's fair to assume that what we've heard is the best part of his case, with any troublesome details omitted.

Yes, I know this sounds like I'm defending LLNS, and I guess I am. I've been exposed to situations like this in the past, and there is ALWAYS more to the story.

Anonymous said...

Privacy? His LLNS dismissal, and all the alleged reasons for it, would have been anything but private to most of his former LLNS managers, a good many of his former LLNS coworkers, and eventually to inquiring employers on the outside.

Yes you are correct, there is always another side to a story, so far the LLNS side of the story does not appear to have been adequately compelling to the CA Appeals Judge.

If this dismissed employee was allowed to face his LLNS accusers directly, instead of the secret identity Dismissal Review Board (DRB) process, perhaps he would still be employed at LLNS and the awkward and embarrassing DOE 708 process could have been avoided.

It appears there was more than one point where a path to de-escalate the issues were presented by the employee and promptly discarded by LLNS management.

Anonymous said...

"...Let us remember that EVERYTHING on the blog on this topic comes from the ex-employee. LLNS won't be able to comment publicly..."

Before you conclude the contractor LLNS is at some disadvantage, you might want to read the document on this web link:

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-106hhrg64767/html/CHRG-106hhrg64767.htm

or use key words:

zero + tolerance + really + whistleblowers

Anonymous said...

"...It appears there was more than one point where a path to de-escalate the issues were presented by the employee..."

The employee is expected to have exhausted internal means of addressing the situation with the contractor within reason before filing a DOE 708 complaint. In other words, the issues presented by the employee are generally not a surprise to the contractor, and the contractor had one or more opportunities to address the issues internally.

The DOE 708 complaint process is not meant to be a first step, but rather a means to address what the contractor knew about in real time but instead of addressing the problem equitably, elected to continue on the same path.

Unfortunately for the vast amount of uninvolved LLNS employees, when a DOE 708 complaint takes root given its prerequisites, it is in some sense an indication of failure(s) across directorates or an institutional level
failure and broadcast as such.

The DOE 708 complaint process and potential collateral damage to the contractor's reputation is preventable, making the situation that much more unfortunate.

Anonymous said...

August 11, 2014 at 9:45 PM - That's a very interesting and thought-provoking (but LONG) document. Given it's timing (year 2000) it's probably one of the many things that made Congress think it would be a good idea to privatize - that way they could withhold fee and not reimburse legal expenses if the contractor behaved poorly.

I think that some things have changed in the ensuing 14 years. Certainly "whistleblowing" as related to safety issues has become safer. As related to other things, maybe not.

But back to the original point, I just think that LLNS is "at a disadvantage" in this blog discussion, because we have no way of hearing "LLNS's side of this story". That makes it pretty easy to jump on the side of the complainant. But you know that there is always another side to the argument.

(To be clear, I do not think that LLNS is at any kind of a disadvantage in the overall case. I think some of the conditions described in the reference you cited still probably exist.)

Anonymous said...

The employee is at a disadvantage as he or she is being shown the gate. Something to think about anyway.

Anonymous said...

As a LLNL former employee of almost 3 decades that filed this DOE 708 complaint, I strongly suggest to current LLNS employees, to refrain from openly asking LLNS management for answers regarding my situation.

Anonymous said...

Why would we?

Anonymous said...

"...Why would we?..."

You are very correct. Some may not want to ask about this or want this examined beyond the faceless nameless LLNS DRB review in 2013.

This is particularly true if they work in Staff Relations and are having their judgement externally reviewed by DOE investigators for not one, but for multiple alleged contractor abuses.

So yes, for some this is not a road they wish to travel. Why would they?

Anonymous said...

Not true. Within 30 days of the dismissal through official communications or hallway chatter, many important details would be available, including the "self evident" "LLNS must be right" dismissal itself of course. All despite "privacy" guidelines.

Your anger serves no purpose.

Anonymous said...

Where do you work? It sure isn't LLNL.

LLNS cannot and does not comment on specific cases like this, other than at the highest level, such as the "self evident LLNS must be right" comment. There are no other official communications about cases like this.

Hallway chatter does not equal information. Hallway chatter is rumor, subject to all the usual distortion (in any direction, but usually against the company).

To argue otherwise, or to suggest that you could get more information by asking the management, reflects a level of naivete that is unusual even on this blog. I suggest that you go give it a try. You need some real-world experience.

Anonymous said...

"...LLNS cannot and does not comment on specific cases like this..."

I'm afraid quoting LLNS privacy policy as absolute and binding suggests you haven't been at LLNS long, you have a PR/Staff Relations function, or are involved somehow in the set of employee allegations.

Do you think LLNS and NNSA LFO managers with alleged culpability are in communication isolation while waiting to be interviewed by the DOE investigator?
A collective information shutdown to honor the DOE investigation to come?

Yes if you were to send an email to "ask the director" you would receive a list of boiler plate privacy policy responses, perhaps a word or two about their "zero tolerance for reprisal", and their pledge to "fully cooperate" with the DOE investigation.

Privacy Definition:

"The state of being free from public scrutiny or from having your secrets or personal information shared"

If employee privacy was a high priority for LLNS, the employee would have been granted an opportunity to face his accusers in a balanced forum. Instead LLNS took the oblique DRD path and in the process, may have unnecessarily slandered this employees 3 decade career and future job prospects.

Drawing from similar circumstances, the LLNS strategy will be to deny all accusations and attempt to have the case dismissed. If that fails, the next step will be to obstruct all "discovery" attempts by the dismissed employee to collect employee testimony or files. This compliments the LLNS practice of dismissing employees without prior notice and escorting them out the gate without case relevant computer or office documentation.

With unlimited resources compared to the employee, LLNS can afford to "slow walk" the case into obscurity
with the help of the aforementioned "privacy policy" as needed.

Anonymous said...

Like I said, if you believe what you say, then go ask management for the whole story about this event. Keep marching that request up the line until you get satisfaction. You obviously need the experience.

Anonymous said...

"...Like I said, if you believe what you say, then go ask management for the whole story about this event..."

I believe you are entirely missing the point of the 8-15-14 11:17am post. This person is not denying the
existence of official LLNS privacy policy or protocol for these matters.

Your argument appears to be based on the premise that there is 100% official privacy protocol involved here and as such there is a complete information barrier on the matter at LLNS. That is just not a real world boots on the ground reality for any number of "privacy" matters here at LLNS.

There is privacy policy and there is privacy practice and the two are not identical.

Anonymous said...

This goes back to August 12, 2014 at 5:45 PM, who advises us "to refrain from openly asking LLNS management for answers regarding my situation".

The point is that nobody would ever want to do that anyway, for 2 reasons: 1) They don't care; 2) they know they would never get the full story. I guarantee you that you will not get anything other than the "official story" from LLNL - why would they say anything else, especially while they're in litigation?

I can't imagine what you think could be learned, but once again, I encourage you to try. Sometimes you just need to smack into that wall to be really convinced that it's there.

Anonymous said...

Now we have entered into a repeating loop with no new information other than the "smack" comment. You win buddy. Chill.

Anonymous said...

My Dismissal and Engineering Directorate Level Management

The Engineering Directorate's Senior Superintendent and I had mutual concerns at LLNS (or so I thought) that substantially predate events in 2012. As I tried to meet with the Senior Superintendent on my 2012 situation, he always made sure the LSEO Superintendent was with him for support (?). An extreme reversal to an earlier period in our careers. He could have served with Directorate level objectivity on these division matters, but instead helped lay the ground work for the events of 2012 and 2013, contributed to my toxic work environment, and to my dismissal.

My career did not just randomly take a turn in 2012 as the reference files sent to DOE and NNSA will show.

Voicing concerns as a minority can permanently cross thread ones career you see, but there can be beneficiaries to such circumstances.

Anonymous said...

And the plot thickens.

Anonymous said...

Since we seem to be having trial-by-blog, but without any opposing counsel, let's try a thought exercise. For the moment, just assume that the complainant is actually a bad employee. We've all seem them and worked beside them....the people that just aren't of a caliber that should be here, that take so much care and feeding that they drag down the group they're in.

IF this person were one of those, how would any of the things posted on this blog be different?

I'm not arguing that he's a bad guy. Only that there is no way to know from the information at hand. It's pretty easy to become outraged at the awful treatment he received at the hands of a bunch of evil agents of the faceless bureaucracy. But you can bet that there's another side to this story.

Anonymous said...

Yes, there are bad employees. In fact, bad employees often believe that they are exemplary employees. One former co-worker of mine who was eventually terminated felt that management was out to get him/her because he/she was too good (i.e., made management and others look bad by comparison).

However, I do not read this type of attitude in any of the material provided by the person in this thread. Instead, I see very well-written and specific information as well as details about the administrative/legal processes as they move forward.

The individual in question didn't mention "a bunch of evil agents of the faceless bureaucracy." These are your words, not his.

My take is that no one at the Laboratory made the effort to determine what was actually going on with respect to the given employee. Instead, people relied on rumor. It is often easier to formulate opinions based on misinformation or poor information. Everyone believes that everyone else knows the facts, when in reality nobody does. This follow the herd mentality is not uncommon in organizations like LLNL suffering from administrative bloat - or if you wish, "a faceless bureaucracy."

Ironically, sometimes employees are able to use misinformation to their advantage. I certainly have in my career. People believe positive characteristics about me that are not true. However, sometimes the opposite happens and negative (mis)information gets out of control.

I hope the person in question keeps everyone informed about the status of the proceedings.

Anonymous said...

"...Since we seem to be having trial-by-blog, but without any opposing counsel..."

You raise some good points.

I agree with the other commenter that this employee did not mention "evil agents". However, in cases like this there is a spectrum of culpability from aware of and in a position to address the matter, complicit by agreement, complicit by action, to a primary contributor to the matter. This would include LLNS Staff Relations, who are not spectators in these situations. Again, no "evil agents".

Regarding your "trial-by-blog, but without any opposing counsel" comment, you may have unintentionally described the balance and transparency of the LLNS Dismissal Review Board (DRB) process. LLNS Karma?

Anonymous said...

You guys are right. The subject of this string did not say anything about "evil agents". That was just hyperbole that I added to clarify my argument (and because it just sounded so good).

I agree with most of your points. I'll be interested to see how this turns out, and how much we'll be able to know about how it turns out!

Anonymous said...

"...This follow the herd mentality is not uncommon in organizations like LLNL..."

Groupthink or mob rule in extreme cases, allow individuals within the group to go along with decisions they would not otherwise be comfortable with as individuals. These decisions can incrementally spin out of control. However, this group dynamic does not excuse malicious behavior or as has been alleged, "abuse of authority".

If the former employees assertions are factual, I wonder if LLNS will reprimand the offenders or just frame it as a cluster of institutional "oversights" with no individual(s) being responsible?

Anonymous said...

"...I'll be interested to see how this turns out, and how much we'll be able to know about how it turns out!..."

In the spirit of the DOE 708 purpose, employee protection, the details should be released.

The contractor LLNS can informally propose full reinstatement of the dismissed employee with full back pay, or attempt to settle with him at any time. This is permitted and encouraged in the 708 process. Either path might be subject to a nondisclosure agreement.

If the contractor LLNS wants to raise the stakes in the hearing phase, the dismissed employee using his right to "discovery" will have access to supporting files,
the DRB meeting transcript or documentation, and the names of the DRB individuals.

Discovery also allows the dismissed employee to collect testimony from employees ranging from coworkers to the Director of LLNS, or to cross examine their previous statements, actions, or inactions.

The discovery discussions will occur in a very different setting than in the workplace where the contractor hierarchy has material influence and control on the scope and depth of all employee communications or inquiries.

The dismissed employee could win or lose the hearing. Depending on the subject matter raised in the hearing,
the 2013 NNSA LFO LLNS Performance Report may need to be revised, and the 2014 report may have a few more line items to prevent similar circumstances from reoccurring.

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