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Nice work if you can get it: 12 years of full-time time off

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in Employee Benefits Program,Firing,HR Management,Small Business Tax Deduction Strategies

Heads are rolling in Norfolk, Va., following the discovery that a government worker who was suspended 12 years ago and hasn’t done a day of work since then has been drawing a paycheck the whole time. And get this: Now that she’s been officially fired, she’s suing.

Jill McGlone was an administrative staffer at the Norfolk Community Services Board in 1998. One day, she allegedly brought a weapon to work. Further investigation by board officials turned up evidence that McGlone had illegally released a client’s confidential medical information. The board suspended her.

And that was that.

No one from the Community Services Board followed up. No one finished the paperwork to terminate McGlone. No one told her to come back to work. So she didn’t.

But the agency—which provides mental-health services—continued to pay her. The total tab for 12 years of not doing anything came to an estimated $320,000. McGlone even got pay raises. When she was suspended, she was earning $25,000 per year. By last summer, her salary had gone up to $40,000. McGlone dutifully cashed the checks.

Her sweet deal almost came to an end in early 2009, when a Norfolk Human Resources Department employee asked what McGlone was still doing on the payroll. But the inquiry went unanswered, so the pay continued.

Finally in May 2010, the newly hired executive director of the Community Services Board thought something might be amiss. While reviewing staffing documents, she realized she had never met one of the employees on the list: McGlone.

The executive director called the city attorney, who called the police. A three-month investigation ensued. Eventually even the FBI got involved.

The upshot: Five board executives have been fired, including the agency’s HR director.

McGlone finally got her pink slip and found herself out of “work” for the first time in more than a decade. Now she’s suing the board—for wrongful termination!

Oh, she wants unemployment benefits, too.

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