A nasty fact about lawsuits is that sometimes a party will used procedural maneuvering to prolong a proceeding, or to start ancillary proceedings, in an attempt to wear out an opponent. This happens when individual citizens sue large corporations with deep pockets. It also can occur in dealings with the federal government, including those where federal employees engage in whistleblowing.
A chemist, who works for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is facing removal proceeding even before two other actions pending with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) and the Department of Labor have completed. These cases are both related to her firing after she accused the EPA of falsifying weak alkaline corrosivity standards of dust at the World Trade Center site.
Her removal proceedings are based on the allegation that she threatened to kill her supervisor. Of course, alleged incident only involved her and the supervisor, with no witnesses or evidence substantiating the supervisor’s claim.
The woman is also 5′ 4″ and a childhood survivor of polio who needs a special mouse and keyboard as an accommodation for her slight disability. The allegedly threatened is supervisor is male and more than six feet tall.
However, she has long been outspoken in her criticism of the EPA when it has failed in its mission to protect people and the environment. According to the news story, none of the actions by the EPA against her was based on her work product, with officials giving her “begrudging respect.”
This appears to be a classic case of retaliation, where agency management has marked her in an effort to remove her for her whistleblowing activities. She feels it necessary to pursue these latest allegations to clear her name from the “stain.”
Source: Eenews.net, “Agency mounts another effort to fire whistle-blowing chemist,” Emily Yahele, September 13, 2013