The Whistleblower Forum by Diane Shay – FORMS Of RETALIATION  IN THE WORKPLACE 061818

The Whistleblower Forum by Diane Shay – FORMS Of RETALIATION  IN THE WORKPLACE 061818


“Make up your mind that no matter what comes your way, no matter how unfair, you will do more than simply survive.  You will thrive in-spite of it.”  Joel Osteen.

All retaliation impacts many employees and is a serious issue for organizations not to mention very difficult to resolve. Retaliation rates are climbing and USA studies show 35% of employees fear retaliation. This impacts corporate culture, worker productivity and may ultimately lead to fines and enormous legal cost for all.

Signs of Retaliation in the Workplace:
1. You’re Excluded or Left Out:  The silent treatment is one of the ways co-workers might exclude you from conversations related to work. And if you notice that all your co-workers are whispering in small groups you can be pretty sure they are trying to figure out how to react to a now poison atmosphere.
With the exception of those in power they are all in fear of retaliation should they show any alliance to the Whistle blower. Mr. Menagh would question Ms. Tyo (co-worker) who I worked closely with about what I was doing and who I was talking to?
2. You’re Reassigned to a Different Shift or Department:   They could also move the Whistle-blower to a different department.   I was offered a position in EMS in 2010 and later found out they had prepared the job description prior to my return. They could also change your job description.

When Mr. Menagh tried to remove task from me I informed him that my settlement including every aspect of my job description. Mr. Fitzpatrick had not involved him in the settlement or shared the details but at this point I don’t think it mattered by this point he had been charged by the Ministry and he was very angry. He actually found out I was returning accidentally through payroll and told the staff that he was going to have me sit in my office and twittle my thumbs.

3. You’re Passed Over for a Promotion or Raise 

4. Your Pay or Hours are Cut:    In my case they could not cut my salary because of the settlement but they refused to evaluate the new EMS position through the normal Job Evaluation process. Should that position be rated higher than the HR position they would have had to placed me in that salary range and they were determined to block it indefinitely.

5. You Encounter Ongoing Harassment:  It’s not uncommon to experience more harassment after filing a complaint. The City was certainly not the exception to that rule. The harassment was ongoing for years from the day I reported the Elder Abuse to the Ministry. From termination to the constant questioning everything and everyone I was working with.

Luckily, I had been trained years earlier by Hicks Morley to deal with Harassment complaints. This is the same law firm who defended the City for most of the Ministry trial. I automatically began to record every harassing encounter in emails and journals.

There are always certain moments one tends to remember more than others and Mr. Menagh standing in my doorway informing me, that I had better be right, if not I was very, very wrong was one of those moments. That was when I knew they would try fire me. I had sat on the Board of Directors of the Alzheimer Society for years, co chaired the first Elder Abuse Committee in SD&G,  and worked in Long Term Care all of which made me familiar with this legislation.

Another incident occurred when a friend attended the Ministry trial and Mr. Fitzpatrick immediately after called her supervisor asking about her performance and minutes later called her directly and questioned her about our friendship.

Intimidation at its finest.

One day, prior to the trial while I was still in HR, Mr. Menagh, Ms. Derouchie, Ms. Landry met with Mr. Sanders by phone in Ms. Landry’s office next to mine. There was a lot of laughing going on for some reason.

Immediately following the meeting Mr. Menagh came straight to my office, his 6’2′ frame stood over me and stuck his finger in my face saying I have a sliver. Very bizarre behaviour. Either the pack mentality has taken over or he didn’t think Ms. Derouchie a competent nurse to look at his sliver?

At one point I had a supervisor cover his ears and say nananananan because he thought I was about to say something about the ongoing harassment and no one wants to get between Mr. Fitzpatrick and his target (me).

For years prior to the Elder Abuse  incident the rumour mill had multiple stories about Mr. Fitzpatrick and Ms. Derouchie’s relationship. When employees brought stories of sightings of them to me I would actually defend Ms. Derouchie. I could understand why he might want this relationship but it was beyond me what she would get out of it other than power? It does however explain how and why the CAO would become involved in this issue which is well outside his area of expertise.

6. You’re Fired from Your Job:  This one is pretty self-explanatory. My job was eliminated in 2009 due to lack of work. If that was the truth they would have offered me a normal severance package. By offering to top up my Long Term Disability (LTD) for one year given my 18 years of service was just another form of retaliation. Standard LTD policies including ours deduct all sources of income dollar for dollar which reducing the offer to 0. After I made Mr. Menagh aware of this issue, it took him months to get the LTD provider to change the policy and make it retroactive to cover me.

Now, Mr. Menagh had 8 years service and received 3 years severance and Ms. Derouchie 10 years got her 18 months. Both are unprecedented to this day.

 7. You’re Blacklisted:   The first week I returned to work in 2010 Mr. Menagh asked me to attend an Emergency Planning meeting in his place. I was the Alternate Emergency Planning Coordinator for years and always attended these meetings. In attendance was the CAO, the Mayor and Police Chief who don’t usually attend. After the meeting I spoke with the Emergency Planning Coordinator telling him how great it was the CAO and Mayor attended. He responded with “it’s a first”. Non verbal communication is 90% of all communications and I guess they were trying to tell me something.

After agreeing to take the position in EMS I was unable to get a council approved cell phone, lap top computer or credit card which was required to do my job. After months of requesting them I once again had to pay my lawyer to send a letter identifying the ongoing harassment. Mr. Fitzpatrick was in my office the next morning and stated that it was the Finance Manager (Ms. Adams) who was responsible for the delays and that he would take care of it.

8. Disciplinary Action is Taken:  Shortly after I reported elder abuse to the Ministry my sister was removed from her position at GSDL. After she called me in tears, I called a supervisor and friend at GSDL to see if she knew anything?

It was apparent she was uncomfortable with the conversation so I changed the subject. By this time I was being harassed on a daily basis for months and had not spoken to my sister about it because she worked there. Two weeks later I was called into Mr. Menagh’s office and he showed me a note written by that supervisor detailing our conversation.

I freely admitted it and he gave a written warning. I later had it removed. After Mr. Fitzpatrick went off on indefinite sick leave and a City wide email was sent out a friend called me to let me know. After the media reported it, the Manager at the time went to her and yelled that one of us went to the media and could be disciplined. Of course it was not true, but they never want the truth just someone to blame.

9. Denial of Benefits:  Fortunately for me the Chief of EMS informed me that there was a policy related to court appearances and preparation for EMS which covered all lost time. Mr. Menagh apparently was unaware of this policy as well and called the Chief informing him I would have use vacation time for the Ministry preparation and the seven day trial. I think it is fair to say that Mr. Fitzpatrick, Mr. Menagh and Ms. Derouchie were not using vacation time. My lawyer had to resolve this issue as well.

At the end of the day no one can retaliated to this degree without CAO approval and support.

As they say “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Take care,

Diane Shay

16 Responses to "The Whistleblower Forum by Diane Shay – FORMS Of RETALIATION  IN THE WORKPLACE 061818"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.