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Avoid new legal risk: Train supervisors to stamp out hostile work environment retaliation

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Florida employers, has approved new grounds for discrimination lawsuits. It recently ruled that employees who file discrimination complaints can sue for retaliation if their employers punish them with a hostile work environment.

The 11th Circuit was the final federal circuit to approve this cause of action.

Essentially, the ruling makes it illegal to engage in a campaign to get an employee to quit because she filed a discrimination complaint.

Recent case: When Diane and several other doctors working for the Department of Veterans Affairs filed internal EEO complaints, they soon found themselves on the receiving end of what they perceived as character assassination, interference with their research activities and other hostile acts.

They sued and won in a jury trial. The VA appealed, arguing that the 11th Circuit never recognized a retaliatory hostile work environment.

But the 11th Circuit said that it finally did, joining the other federal circuits. It upheld the jury decision in this case. (Gowski, et al., v. Shinseki, No. 09-16371, 11th Cir., 2012)

What employers must do: Be sure to cover the concept of retaliatory hostile work environment in your supervisor training. Explain that making life miserable for an employee—even if not accompanied by a concrete action like termination or demotion—may be retaliation. After a discrimination complaint has been resolved, remind supervisors that you won’t tolerate any form of retaliation.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda Madero June 11, 2016 at 11:55 pm

8 JUN 2016 : Update
Bay Pines/C.W. Bill Young VA Assistant Director found “Guilty” of lying and hiring discrimination of a California VA employee applying for a job at Bay Pines.
EEOC Judge declared Kristine Brown “Guilty”. Brown told another hiring panel member not to hire the applicant due to applicants “Prior EO Activity”.
Panel member trstified against Brown.
EEOC’s punishment consisted of the EEOC ruling being posted on all bulletin boards at the Bay Pines/C.W. Bill Young VA for 120 days and that Brown get 5 days of EO and Retaliation training by a board certified attorney.
My “guess” is that one of 2 Bay Pines VA attorney’s will “sign off” on Brown’s training without her ever being trained.
VA Sevretary Bob McDonald states that there is zero tolerance for retaliation and reprisal.
Brown barely was tapped on her wrist.
Under Brown and Klinkers leadership, Bay Pines has been found guilty of numerous retaliation law suits and have “Settled” out of court for numerous other retaliation/reprisal EO claims.
I won one of those settlements in August 2014. Klinker settled with me, to prevent my 2 cases from continuing with EEOC.
October of 2014, 8 Bay Pines police officers “Won” their lawsuit against Bay Pines, for tge exact same thing I won my Settlement over. Retaliation and Reprisal for EO activity.
Brown was just caught. Lying. Directly to the EEOC judge. Another hiring panel member testified against her.
And she is still employed?
March 31st, 2014, I was “Ordered Off Duty” as soon as I reported to work that day. I was not given a reason why. 4 weeks later I was called in for interrogation.
Kristine Brown wrote the letter ordering me off duty. She wrote that letter less than 2 weeks “after” I had requested my first case to go to EEOC. Brown ordered me off duty less than 36 hours “after” I had sent a group email to the entire VA chain of command above the Directors level.
Kris Brown is part of the group of SES employees at Bay Pines that feeds and cultivates the culture of Retaliation and Reprisal at Bay Pines.
I do not understand how these people are still employed by our tax payer dollars.
Assistant Director, Kristine Brown.
Director, Suzanne Klinker.
Chief of Staff, Domonique Thurriere.
Attorney, Tanya Burton.
Attorney, Ms. Savage.
Human Resources, Cecil Johnson.
Human Resources, Mark Rosas.
Human Resources, Ronald Plemmons.
PLM&S Chief, Theodore Strickland.
Demoted Anatomical Pathology Supervisor, Now, Histotechnologist, Sheri Meilus.
Lab Manager, Colleen Debacker.
Cytotechnologist, Bonnie Ruzicka.
Prosthetics Supervisor, Judy Hoeffer.
Prosthetics Secretary, Sandra Pardue.

All….complicitly involved with cultivating and knowingly participating in retaliation, reprisal, illegal entry into employees medical records, falsifying documents, falsifying accusations, and harassment at Bay Pines, C.W. Bill Young VA hospital.
How many Settlements will the tax payers have to pay for these people’s wrongdoing and illegal actions?
How many law suits will tax payers have to pay for when these people are found guilty?
Kristine Brown got off without barely so much as a tap on her wrist.



Ann February 1, 2016 at 11:20 pm

This happens to Active Duty Military, too. I have been retaliated against, when I reported a patient safety issue and financial conflicts of interest. My company was concerned only about money and the contract. I was told, ” not to answer the phone”, from the person, I was concerned about. I was terminated, so the flawed system can continue. My fight is just beginning.


Linda S Madero November 6, 2015 at 11:55 am

22 SEP 2015 Phoenix VA, Arizona, Marine Veteran, Brandon Coleman and Army Veteran, Shea Wilkes testified to Congress in D.C. about VA Whistleblower Retaliation. Whistleblowers from 50 different VA’s are represented in the group “VA Truth Tellers”. 50 separate, different, VA’s from across the United States. Incredible.


Linda S Madero November 6, 2015 at 11:44 am

06 NOV 2015 – Senate Hearing in Chicago, Germaine Clarno and Dr. Lisa Nee are testifying about severe VA Whistleblower Retaliation and several other severe allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse. Hines VA in Chicago, Illinois.


Linda S Madero October 5, 2015 at 10:25 pm

My deepest, most sincere sympathy to Tomah VA Chris Kirkpatricks family members.
Chris committed suicide after being fired for reporting overprescribing cocktails of lethal narcotics to vets. Causing death.
I read his story when researching VA Retaliation.
I am so sorry Chris felt so alone.
He is not.
Each Whistleblower that comes forward, is a voice for Chris.
The people who commit these acts of retaliation need to be terminated, fined, imprisoned.
It isnt innocent. It is vicious, hateful, cowardly.


Linda S Madero October 5, 2015 at 10:15 pm

5 OCT 2015 Sen. Ron Johnson publically gave out his email to any VA Whistleblower watching the 22 SEP 15 Senate Hearing.
I also contacted Congressman David Jolly’s office and spoke with his aide Paul Matthews.
Both requested that I send them any and all supporting documents as proof of the retaliation against me.
20 AUG 2015, the Bay Pines Cytotechnology Contract worker hired to fill my position until the finalization of my Settlement, to tell me my supervisor, Sheri Meilus, was still harassing and calling me names in the workplace, telling coworkers and employees that I am crazy insane, and professionally incompetent.
Almost 1 year, “After” signing my Setllement agreement, and over 2 years since working with her in the department……she is still doing this.
I filed my 3rd EO Complaint on 8 SEP 2025.
When I met with the EO/ORM counselor, more incidents over the last year came out. I had reported each and every incident directly to the Director via email.
EO/ORM educated me telling me I could include all the additional incidents due to the lack of detail in my Settlement telling me exactly “who” to report any further issues/incidents to.
20 FEB 2015, only 5 months “after” signing my Settlement, I lost 2 full timr job offers due to Dr. Theodore Strickland returning a personal phone call from.a colleague Pathologist who had interviewed me the day before, offered me the job, and I had accepted.
Within 2 hours of being offered and accepting the position, I turned down a 2nd job offer and Dt. Strickland returned the call causing his colleague friend to “rescind” my job.
I lost 2 jobs that day.
Due to my departments continual, ongoing, harassment and retaliation, my profesdio al reputation has been severely damaged in my local area.
I have been unable to find full time employment in my career field in over tge last year.
My career field is small. Cytotechnology. We all know eachother or know of eachother.
Their concerted efforts to professionally “Black List” me has worked.
So far.
I am hoping future employers are educated, read, and are aware of current events with the National plague of VA Whistleblower Retaliation.


Linda S Madero October 5, 2015 at 9:43 pm

22 SEP 2015 Senate Hearing on VA Whistleblower Retaliation. Chairman of committee Sen. Ron Johnson. Marine veteran Brandon Coleman and Army veteran Shea Wilkes testified against their VA.
Shea said he was not there to tell his specific story. He was there to put a spotlight on how similar the retaliation against VA Whistleblowers is. Like they are operating from a master “Play Book”.
Purrto Rico VA, Pheonix VA, Wisconsin VA, Chicago VA…..Florida, Bay Pines now the CW Bill Young VA…………..same methods.


Linda S Madero September 10, 2015 at 12:47 pm

10 SEP 2015 12:42 PM

Washington Post Article, dated 9 SEP 2015, article titled:

“Justice for One VA Whistleblower. But Exposing Problems is Still Treacherous.”

Retired SGT Bradie Frink, VA Employee. Was fired, “Whistleblower Retaliation”.

He was being reinstated back to his job at the VA. After 2 years of being retaliated against.


Linda S Madero August 20, 2015 at 4:21 pm

Update 20 AUG 2015

Todays paper the “Tampa Tribune” article:

“Lawyer: Bay Pines VA faces scrutiny after lawsuit.”

Just sayin’


Linda S Madero November 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Today’s date is 3 NOVEMBER 2014

I signed the “Settlement” papers on 5 SEPTEMBER 2014. I have only been back to Bay Pines once since signing the papers to simply refill a prescription.

My Union representative has called me twice. The first time was to let me know that he had 4 boxes of mine from my “home” department. Department of Pathology. I had been moved to 3 other departments in the last year and a half.

Within 5 days of signing the settlement papers, my Union representative called me on my personal phone to tell me that all of my belongings had been packed by Department of Pathology and they were in his office.

I spoke with him that first call and told him that I was/am still trying to deal with the details of it all. “Trying to get the sour taste out of my mouth” that threatens to gag me and nauseates me beyond words.

I did not pick up on his second phone call, I let it go to my voicemail.

There is nothing left to say. Nothing left to do. There is nothing else that I want from Bay Pines VA Hospital.

Now I have to decide “where” to get my medical care as a veteran. In those last weeks, I did a FOIA search checking to see “who” had entered into my personal medical files at and within Bay Pines VA.

It was found that “yes”, my personal medical records had illegally/unauthorized been entered. I received a letter from the Director telling me this. She stated that they identified the person and that they were going to deal with the situation.

I sit here today knowing that all VA hospital’s are “linked” electronically now. It doesn’t matter “which” VA I go to, anyone at Bay Pines has access to my medical care records as long as I continue to get care at a VA facility.

I need to go to??? the Regional Office?….and see what to do I suppose. How to get a “block”?….on my records to keep anyone at Bay Pines from accessing my records.

Is that even possible?

Haven’t wrapped my head around all of this yet. I am 48 years old. A licensed professional. Active Duty, Combat, Army veteran.

Think it is going to take a little while longer for me to be able to “digest” it all.

Linda S Madero


Linda S Madero September 23, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Update: Linda S Madero vs. Bay Pines VA Hospital.


I signed a “Settlement”.

I am not allowed to discuss any of the details of the settlement.

I was told my Formal EO case had been turned over to an EEOC judge in Miami by my EO/ORM case manager once the FEB 2014 Formal Investigation was finalized. I met with my EO/ORM case manager and the EO/ORM investigator on 04 MARCH 2014 to discuss the investigation and chose to forward my case that day to the EEOC judge for final decision.

I found out 5 months later, last week of AUGUST 2014, that my case had never been forwarded. I was told it was due to a “glitch” in the electronic mail or due to an “administrative error”. I was told there was no way possible of knowing for certain “what exactly” happened. This is what my EO/ORM case manager told me.

He “re-sent” my formal case that last week in August. I received confirmation that “yes” it had been received by EEOC in Miami.

I can not go into further details as to the final straw that led me to agree to any settlement offered.

The settlement agreement was signed by the director of Bay Pines VA hospital on 10 SEPTEMBER 2014.


Linda S Madero July 30, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Concerning my Formal EO Investigation findings:

15 FEB 2014, Formal EO Investigation was finalized.

My Coworkers pay sheets were pulled. She had 236.50 hours of overtime in a 10 month time period. Over $10,480.00 in overtime alone. $200-$900 in overtime each pay period. She was putting in for overtime 30-45 minutes prior to her shift start time of 0600 AM hours. She was putting in at 0515 AM and 0530 AM, 30 to 45 minutes “BEFORE” her shift began. Time sheets show an “ABRUPT” stop to this abuse of morning overtime 08 AUG 2012. She continued to put in for overtime after her end of tour time 1430 PM hours. Excuse was for “coverage of department”. My hours were 0800 AM to 1630 PM hours. There was absolutely no need for her to stay past her 1430/2:30PM end of tour. I was there until 1630/4:30PM.

Management’s “Excuse”, Ms. Madero was not signed off as competent on her “Competency Check off List”. I was physically, in pen, signed off on “ALL”/”EVERY SINGLE THING”, accept….Fine Needle Biopsies. My management “pen signed” the date for my sign off as JANUARY 2013.

I had been doing Fine Needle Biopsies since, minimum, OCTOBER of 2012. Cytology “WORKLOAD DOCUMENTS” are hard cold proof of this fact that my management “purposely” and “intentionally” lied about my not being signed off as competent.

They did this to “cover” and “excuse” their signing off on my coworkers gross abuse of overtime. My supervisor and department chief were “knowingly” signing off on her illegal overtime.

I am being retaliated against, thrown under the bus, so that they can protect themselves for signing off on her illegal overtime.

A patient had to have a second invasive kidney biopsy procedure due to my coworkers devisive motives to discredit my ability to perform biopsy procedures. She “knowingly” and “purposefully” did not train me adequately for this procedure. Attempting to “Set me up for failure”. Due to the complexity of the procedure, my department chief said that the Pathologist on the procedure was “entirely” at fault, not me, not my coworker who set up the cart. If she had succeeded, then I would have been pulled off of biopsy procedures, which would have solidified her justification for staying late, justifying her “OVERTIME”.

The actions taken against me over the past 1 year and 3 months, going on 4 months for reporting these incidents are severely EGREGIOUS, ILLEGAL, UNETHICAL.


Linda S Madero July 30, 2014 at 12:15 pm

30 JUL 2014 UPDATE:

21 MARCH 2014 Friday Union Rep told me that they were “finally” going to set up a meeting with me and Chief of Staff. They were aiming for Thursday, 27 MARCH 2014. “Finally” after a year of me asking for this meeting. He told me to prepare all my documents for meeting.
22 MARCH 2014 Saturday
23 MARCH 2014 Sunday
24 MARCH 2014 Monday. Nothing,no emails, no phone calls.
25 MARCH 2014 Tuesday. Nothing, no emails, no phone calls.
26 MARCH 2014 Wednesday. Nothing. I email after lunch, EO/Union “Any update about the meeting?”. Close of business, “No Replies”.
27 MARCH 2014 Thursday. Nothing. AM/Morning I send another email to EO/Union “Are you guys getting my emails? Is there a meeting today?” Few minutes later, Union rep calls. “Meeting Invititaion was sent to your home email” “Meeting is for Monday 31 MARCH 2014 9AM.” Sent to my home email? Why? Why not to my work email? We “ALL” work here. Invitation was sent to “all” others on their work emails. Why was mine sent to my home email? Why didn’t anyone answer my emails? When did Union rep get this email? He said “Monday, 24 MARCH” I asked why he didn’t tell me. He stated, because he was waiting for me to reply. I had been asking for this meeting for a year. “WHY” didn’t anyone tell me about the invite?
27 MARCH 2014 Thursday. Stress from situation was so severe, I ended up in the E.R. Hands, feet, left side of face numb. Thought I was having a heart attack. Docs told me to take rest of day and Friday off.
28 MARCH 2014 Friday. I took off work. Spoke to Union rep. Meeting was set on the exact same day as a “pre-set” Endocrine appointment in Tampa. Tampa appointment too important to cancel. Had to reschedule my meeting with Chief of Staff that I had waited on for a year. Reset for 07 APRIL 2014.
29 MARCH 2014 Saturday.
30 MARCH 2014 Sunday.
31 MARCH 2014 Monday. Go to my Tampa VA appointment. Return to Dept. Prosthetics at 12 Noon. Soon as I walk in the door, Supervisor tells me to meet her in her office with my Union rep. I was handed a letter, from the Acting Director of Bay Pines, Kristine Brown. Letter was directly to me from her. I was Immediately “Ordered Off Duty” and put on “Mandatory Authorized Leave” with pay. I was told I had to leave the department immediately and not to return until further notice. I asked “why”. I was told to contact Human Resources for questions. Union rep walked me out of department and we stood in hallway and talked. He told me to contact my own Union Rep immediately for further instructions. I did and he told me he would call me with further guidance. I called Human Resources when I got home. I was only told that I was “Ordered off Duty” for “Innappropriate comments in the Workplace”. I asked if it was Standard Operating Procedure to “Order an Employee off Duty” ,sent home, “with pay” for an innappropriate comment. ER/LR would not answer me, they kept repeating same thing.
07 APRIL 2014 Monday. Met with Chief of Staff and her attorney.
28 APR 2014 4th week at home. I was called in for an Offical Fact Finding. I was told that I had been accused of an “Sexually Explicit Innappropriate Comment in the Workplace” AND “An Emotional Outburst”. ??????? I was questioned about both and my statements were taken. “No”, no sexually explicit comments, “No”, no emotional outbursts.
MAY 2014 2nd meeting with Chief of Staff and her Attorney.
2 JUNE 2014 I was returned back to “work”, this time “Temporarily Assigned to Dept. Education”. ???? “No” I have not been told what the outcome of the so called Fact Finding is (today’s date 30 JUL 14).
24 JULY 2014 1st meeting set with Director of Bay Pines. Meeting cancelled and rescheduled for 01 AUG 2014.
30 JULY 2014 Today’s date. I meet with the Director day after tomorrow on 01 AUG 2014.

I am sickened, nervous, anxious. I no longer know who to trust.

I am being told that I will “not” be returned to my job to my department. “They” are attempting to laterally move me into another position here at Bay Pines.

15 JULY 2014 I read on the internet, that a Clair McCaskill from Missouri is trying to push legislation through to have any VA employee found to have participated in Retaliatory acts, terminated.

She stated that: “Whistle blowers are critical to our efforts to guard against wasate and misconduct in government and in the case of the VA, against compromise of patient care.”

I was hired here at Bay Pines VA on 12 FEB 2012. Only months after being hired, I began reporting “Gross Abuse of Overtime” and “Hostile Disruptive Behavior” by my coworker.

In the first 1 year and 2 months here, I had reported numerous issues to my supervisor, my department chief, EO (3x’s), Union (2x’s), demanded EO mediation DEC 2012 (never took place), demanded Union mediation that ocurred 16 APR 2013.

19 APR 2013, 3 days after the Union came into my department for that meeting, my department chief came into the back room where I was working alone, closed the door and threatened me. I filed a police report that day.

22 APR 2013 Human Resources and Union removed me from my department telling me it was for my safety, until further notice.

I have not been returned since. I am being told I will “NOT” be returned at all now.

For reporting illegal and unethical situations here at Bay Pines VA Hospital.


Linda Madero February 3, 2014 at 5:01 pm

03 FEB 2014 – I finally was able to get ahold of the file, the “Fit for Duty FIle” that my department, Dr. Theodore Strickland and Sheri Meilus had submitted against me….09 OCT 2013, 6 months “AFTER” the incident happened. 6 months. I had “NO IDEA” “HOW”…they were allowed to do what they did to me. I had “NO IDEA” “WHAT” they said…to have me Physically and Mentally evaluated. Dr. Theodore Strickland, Chief of Pathology, Bay PInes V.A. hospital wrote…about me: “Linda Madero is an Imminent and Significant Security Threat to the VA, the veterans, and her coworkers”. An Imminent and Significant Security Threat…. ???? Incredible. I had no idea…he had written that. “HOW?”…and my first line supervisor…Sheri Meilus, Anatomical Pathology Supervisor, Bay Pines VA Hospital….she had fabricated 12 Reports of Contact on me. When I reviewed them, they were so blatantly false, made up, that she had documented in one…..something that hadn’t even happened…until a month later. 10 of them were from the week of the Union meeting in my department. No reprimand’s, no Admonishments, no Personal Improvement Plans, no nothing. And Dr. Strickland wrote “Imminent and Significant Threat”. ??? And Dr. Therry Wright signed that Fit for Duty Request, allowing them to have me evaluated. Dr. Dominique Therrier signed the packet. Paula Buchele and Cecil Johnson both signed….even though I had repeatedly emailed them asking them “Is this legal? I went to EO three times, the Union 2 times, and the Union came to my department for a meeting” “Is t his legal? How is this legal?”. The 180 days for EO/ORM to finalize the “Investigation” portion of my Formal EO complaint was 15 DEC 2013. EO/ORM requested an extension for 90 days. Now the date is 15 FEB 2014, 10 days from now. I have given a formal, recorded, deposition that lasted almost 4 hours. I had to “FIND” a phone, a room, and a department to give this deposition. One was not provided for me to give this very sensitive, legal, personal, deposition. One of my acting chiefs in my temporary deparment of Prosthetics, walked me around our area, going from one office to another, checking conference rooms, to find me an office, a phone, privacy, to give my statement. The Veterans Affairs office down the hall of bldg. 23 allowed me to use an office of theirs. I was lost for words. The Union did not provide me an office, EO did not, Human Resources did not. My temporary department could not…they are limited on space, offices, and no privacy for that length of a phone deposition. That was in December. 10 more days to go until the extension is up for the “Investigative” portion to be final. I am waiting to see what comes of the investigation. At this point I have personally asked the Director, Ms. Suzanne Klinker, to meet with me, she declined, she emailed me back stating “I don’t think that would be appropriate at this time due to your Formal EO complaint”. I have repeatedly asked to sit with Dr. Wright, Dr. Therrier, Paula Buchele, and Cecil Johson, over and over. I have asked the Union to set up this meeting, EO to set up this meeting, EO/ORM to set up this meeting. I have been told that they will meet with me, a meeting was set up, but then cancelled and I was told they would “RESCHEDULE”. Today is 03 FEB 2014, I have not sat with anyone. I was told in September that I had two choices, to quit or to return to the lab. ONce I spoke with Debbie Bailey, explained in full detail what had happened, I have not heard any further about me returning to the lab. I have been told, to rearrange my USA job resume. I have been told to start thinking of “OTHER” positions I may be suitable for, just “in case”, it was deemed “not a good fit” for me to return to the laboratory. I have been told that there is “NO WAY” that Dr. Strickland will be fired. No way that Sheri Meilus will be fired. Even if the investigation does support RETALIATION, RACE, and Discrimination for perceived Disability. EO/ORM supported my Formal Complaint based on Retalitation, Race, and Disability calling it “SEVERE AND PERVASIVE”. Now I am waiting to see what happens when the investigation portion is finalized. 10 days. I will keep you all posted with the outcome. I am very grateful and thankful for the Department of Prosthetics, Ms. Sharon Furry, Department Chief, Gabriel Hurst, Asst. Chief, Judy Hoefer, Asst. Chief, Sandra Pardue, Kathleen Reilly, Wendell Conley, Jim, Bev, Scott, Natalie, Ed, Phil, Charlie, Jen, John, and …even Mike. They took me in and have supported me throughout this ordeal. “Thank You Bay PInes Prosthetics Department”. More to follow, I will keep you posted.


Linda Madero February 3, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Udate: 03 FB 2014. I last signed on in MAY 2013. I stayed in the library here at Bay Pines for 11 weeks total. And “no”, no mediation has ever ocurred. That was a “ruse”. While I sat and waited for mediation with my Department Chief, that EO/ORM here in Saint Petersburg got me to “reluctantly” agree to, my Department Chief was pushing through a packet, up through his superiors, to have me evaluated, for a “Fit For Duty” examination. I was examined. Physically and Mentally. I do not believe I have ever felt as violated as I do now. I was made to take a 567 MMPI, Minnesota Multi Phasic Personality test. To test for Psychopathy. ??? …it is surreal at this point. I was “deemed” Fit for Duty after being tested. Surprise?..no…..it was done as a “smoke screen” to cover what Dr. Theodore Strickland, Chief of Pathology, did on the afternoon of 19 APR 2013, threatening to have me physically removed from “his” lab, threatened to have me “relieved from duty”, threatened to have me evaluated for “Fit For Duty”. I stayed in the library for 11 weeks, not being told anything, waiting for “mediation” that never happened. The “Fit for Duty” exam request was signed by Dr. Terry Wright, another was signed by Dr. Dominique Therrier. Other documents to have this evaluation pushed through were signed by Human Resources Chief Paula Buchele and Cecil Johnson. I was temporarily assigned to the Department of Prosthetics on July 2nd, 2013. September 2013, “after” I was officially deemed “Fit for Duty”, “after” all the tests, exams, evaluations, I was told that I had two choices, to either quit or to return to my department. I met with a Debbie Bailey, temporarily standing in as the EO officer for Bay Pines. She sat with me and my Union Rep and we talked for over 3 hours. I wanted to know “how” this all happened. I explained to her how many times I had repeated “Is this LEGAL?”………”Can they do this to me?”…”Is this LEGAL?”, emails to Paula Buchele, Cecil Johnson, The Union, EO/ORM….”IS THIS LEGAL, CAN THEY DO THIS TO ME?”…..and no one, no one would answer me. I was told “It’s their right”. It is their “right”. Bay Pines Administrations “right” to do what they did, and are doing to me. I explained that the Fit for Duty was a smoke screen thrown up to distract everyone from what Dr. Strickland did that afternoon. To distract from what had been going on for over a year since I started working here. The multiple times to EO here, the Times to the Union, the Union meeting in my department, all the times I had gone to my direct line supervisor Sheri Meilus, the emails to her and to Dr. Strickland about what was going on. The Fit for Duty was a smoke screen, to throw attention on me…and off of him….them. ANd it worked.


LInda S. Madero June 3, 2013 at 11:30 am

03 JUN 2013

I am still sitting in the library at Bay Pines V.A. Hospital.

Newest event with my case.

A letter sent to me via UPS from my Department Chief.

Retaliation. In full blown affect here at Bay Pines V.A. hospital.

I am not sure who I can trust here. I need legal help and advice.

Linda S. Madero


LInda S. Madero May 16, 2013 at 10:07 am

I concur. I am an ARMY veteran 15 years, I am a Veteran patient, AND…I am a V.A. employee at Bay Pines. I am currently involved in a “Retaliation” case concerning my “Hostile Disruptive” workplace environement. I have been dealing with the Hostile work environment for the 1 year and 2 months I have been here. I have taken ALL proper channels, chain of command, then EO twice, and it then went to the Union. 3 days after the Union reps came to meet with me and my management? My department chief came isolated me in a back room, closed the door and blatantly stated “I don’ t care WHO you go to with this or WHO you tell”…he attacked me personally, professionally, militarily. He then threatened to have me removed from my department, relieved from duty, and evaluated to see if I was even “fit for duty”. You could NEVER have told me that this would EVER happen. I am the “Poster Person” for professionalism, military bearing, discipline. I STILL responded to him by using “Sir”…..the ENTIRE time he was berating me and insulting me to my core. The incident happened on 19 APR 2013. A Friday late afternoon. There was no one to file my report to in the hospital that late on a Friday so AOD directed me to go to the onsite police office, they directed me to the police station. I made a “Voluntary Witness” statement and left the station at 8 PM that evening, exhausted. I went straight to the Union office that following Monday morning. The Union rep could not get anyone in my chain of command to pick up their phones or to answer their pagers for over 2 hours. When they finally did respond?….he was told that they had turned in paperwork to put “ME” on Administrative Duties, pulled off my work duties to file slides and do mundane work, and to also have me evaluated for “fit for duty”…….reason?………..they said it was due to “MY CONDUCT”. INSANITY….ABSURD!………the incident happened on 19 APR 2013. Today is 16 MAY 2013. ALmost a full month. I have been told to sit in the library for my duty day emailing my supervisor when I come in and when I leave. I have not been spoken to, directed, informed, notified…of nothing by Bay Pines Administration, the Director, Human Resources. No one. THe only people that I have spoken to in my Union Rep here at Bay Pines (he is not being told anything either, or this is what he tells me), and the department of EO/ORM main office here in Saint Petersburg. I tried to file a “FORMAL” complaint with the EO office here at Bay PInes, but they told me I could not file “FORMAL” here with them. THat I had to call the office in North Saint Pete to file with them. They “ALL” want me to “MEDIATE” with my Department Chief. To find a “WAY” to resolve the “ISSUE”. EO/ORM counselor has gotten me to agree to at the very least sit and mediate with my Department Chief, for if nothing else, to find out “WHY” he did what he did. I “DO NOT CARE” “WHY”. He verbally attacked me, he insulted me to my CORE, he threatened me with my JOB…he said he did not even think I was capable of performing my job and that there was something wrong…with “ME”….so that he was going to have me evaluated to see if I was even “fit” to work in “HIS” department!………NO!……….THERE IS NOTHING TO MEDIATE…………………ABOUT. HE WAS WRONG!………HE IS WRONG!……..He then added INSULT TO INJURY by turning around………..and attempted to have “ME” put on Administrative DUties……….for “MY CONDUCT”???????? I have gotten all good evaluations, absolutely not one SINGLE derrogatory, discriminatory, bad….counseling. ?????…………..3 days AFTER the UNION comes to talk with my department?….and then ALL OF A SUDDEN?……………..I am not even fit to work there?……REALLY???? WHAT……..has taken them SO LONG. It is CUT AND DRY!….as evident as anything exactly what they have done. And they want me to MEDIATE?…………..I WANT THEM TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT THEY HAVE DONE. WHAT THEY TRIED TO DO. PERIOD. It WAS and IS…ILLEGAL……..FEDERALLY…CIVILLY…and against the AFGE/UNION Master Agreement we have here at Bay PInes. This is my 4th week sitting in the library and not being told ANYTHING. Falling, tripping, researching myself. I have called Congressman RIck Scott, he deferred me to the EO, Veterans Admin, and so forth. I have called the Tampa Bay Times, they will not do anything until a decision has been made. I have gone to my Union Rep and he can’t or won’t tell me much, I have gone to EO/ORM and they press for “MEDIATION”. I have contacted two lawyers now. FELSC (Federal Employees Legal Services Center) to speak with a lawyer there. THey specifically speacialize in Federal Law and EO issues. I am waiting for someone to call me back. EO/ORM has set a tentative date for me to sit and “mediate” with my Department Chief. June 12th, 25th, 26th. I have read and studied all I can, and will continure to do so. I am scared. I am sick to my stomach. I am not educated in this area, the laws, the terminology. I feel as if I am a lamb going to slaughter. My coworkers are telling me that my supervisor and direct coworker that I had went to EO about for the hostile work environment are both talking about getting a contract worker or the person that retired to come back in to fill my position. WHile I sit here in the library?…………………it is completely and totally amazing to me. As an employee to be treated this way. As a Veteran?…..(shaking my head)…………..and……………..I am a patient…………………here at Bay PInes. 30% disabled. My husband just retired Feb 28th Army, my brother retired Navy, now works for Dept. Homeland Security in D.C., another brother was in the Marines, another brother did time in the ARMY also. My dad and step dad were both ARMY. It is absolutely….MIND BOGGLING to me………..that THIS……….is happening………….to me. Incredible to watch how the “MACHINE” is working. My step daughter graduates high school this weekend, 18 MAY 2013. She has enlisted Active Duty ARMY, she ships out to basic, in August, Ft. Sill Oklahoma, AIT in Ft. Sam Houston, Tx. Veterinary Technician. This is just too much to wrap my head around. Yes, retaliation. THey had tried to get me to “quit”. I tried and still continue to try to take all the proper channels and steps to correct the situation. And I feel as if I am being persecuted. For simply trying to “fix” a broken sytem, from my immediate work office, to my department, now to the Bay Pines campus…….it just seems to keep getting more and more out of control. It seemed like such a simple “fix”…..a little training, classes, getting me and my coworker on same sheet so to speak. And my direct line supervisor just continued to entertain my coworkers actions over and over and over. It is amazing that from that?…it has morphed into this unrecognizable thing. Amazing. Today is 16 MAY 2013. My name is Linda S. Madero, ARMY veteran, patient, employee at Bay Pines V.A. hospital. “L”oyalty, “D”uty, “R”espect, “S”elfless Service, “H”onor, “P”ersonal Courage. HOO-AHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can take the girl out of the ARMY…….but you will NEVER…take the ARMY out of the girl.


Tony September 29, 2012 at 1:38 pm

The Bay Pines VA Medical Center makes it a practice to harass and retaliate. It happens on a regular, if not a daily basis to good employees. Bay Pines have trully bad leaders; they promote and hire bad employees to support their cause. This hospital’s leadership does not care about patient care, that is secondary priority. Their first priority is lining their pockets with bonuses etc. The hospital has received the Carey Awards for Excellence. The same “award” was given to many other VA hospitals, but what does the award really mean? It means that the former director, who was there when the hospital received the awards, was friends with the panel that bestowed the award. No Carey Award has been given to the hospital since his retirement on April Fools day 2011. It was his administration who strongly enforce the harrassment/retaliation at Bay Pines. Many of his administrators are still there today doing the same dirty deeds, and advising the new director who is taking their advise. One has gone to DC to take a higher level position in a new VA department. Why aren’t these people punished with terminations, when Bay Pines is consistantly paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars, and even millions in harrassment, discrimination, hostile work environment and retalliation cases? Why are tax payers and veterans allowing these “leaders” to blow their money when our country is in financial crisis, and vets desperately need good medical care. Think about it- bad employees can’t give vets good medical care because they do not care about the vets, and many are vets themselves. Good employees are harassed because they complain about the treatment given to vets or the safety of the vets. Good employees are always trying to cover their backs. Bad and unskilled employees will never give good care because they do not want to and do not know how to give good care. Why are bad employees protected? Because they protect bad leadership. When vets say they get the best medical care at Bay Pines, I laugh because I know 100% they can get much better care. If only you knew what was really going on behind close doors. It is amazing that veterans and political leaders have failed to address this issue with Bay Pines.


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