Kim du Toit posted about both his and my adverse experiences because of our websites. Kim made a comment about PNNL being “a company of skunks”. I posted a comment in response and I think the same posting here is justified. I fixed a few typos and grammar errors but otherwise the following posting is the same as my comment there:
My “model” for what happened to me was that there were a few people that had big anti-gun biases and no checks and balances for the power they held. None of my co-workers, my project manager, nor none of the people in the projects I managed were ever asked anything about me. Some of them first found out I had been fired, after not being able to make contact with me for a couple weeks, by reading my blog! I suspect “Safeguards and Security” gets raises based on how many people they get fired or disciplined. In that situation they look for whoever has the highest “profile”–me in this case. And the process apparently doesn’t allow for presentation of the evidence to the accused and a chance for the accused to present evidence or witnesses in their favor. For example: They asked me if there was any Official Use Only (OUO) material on a laptop when my wife and daughter used it. I said no, I didn’t think so. A few days later I remembered there were some documents that were marked OUO. But those documents were old. All the OUO restrictions had been removed but the documents on the computer had not been updated and the OUO markings removed. They did not ask me or any one that might have known that. I suspect, but can’t say for certain, that is one instance of how they claimed I violated policy. There were numerous other things that I suspect they may have discovered that at first glance looked bad but had innocent or even praiseworthy justification. They never asked anyone who would have known the truth.
So… my summation of the situation is: The Process is Broken. For the most part I believe the lab and the people there are doing a decent job and are decent people. Some of the projects really should be done in the private sector rather than on taxpayer money but that isn’t the fault of the lab. That is the fault of our congress critters.
In my particular case management is in a tough position. A couple of jerks screwed me over. I suspect management has done their own investigation by now and know my case has at least some merit. Now what do they do? Their main function is the make the company money. If they fire the jerks, as they should be, then I can use that against them in my wrongful termination suit–costing the company money. If they come to me and say, “We have a couple of bad eggs and a bad process, we want to make it right with you.” then they put themselves in the position of giving away money they didn’t have to. What they have to do, in my opinion, is wait for me to file my lawsuit then evaluate their chances of winning and the cost of doing so versus settling with me. Throw in the bad publicity they will have to deal with while the event is going on and afterwords, if I win, and come up what gives them the best odds financially. One cannot expect them to “do the right thing”. It would be unethical from the standpoint of the company finances. They must be forced to do the right thing.
So… I tend to disagree with Kim’s assessment.
My “job” at this point is to help them realize the truth coming out will be more financially painful than fixing the problems a bad process and a couple of “bad eggs” created. The FOIA requests, the Privacy Act Information Requests, and the publicity around my experience will be a festering boil for them. The lawsuit will just be the lance that forces it to drain and heal with as little scaring as possible–for everyone except the couple of jerks. Those people need to be held personally responsible and there is a fair chance I may be able to accomplish that.