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emrlddragon  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, December 11, 2018 5:39:02 PM(UTC)
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My EEO complaint is in the 180 day investigation stage- agency has until mid April to complete. During the informal I asked to be moved to a new office or be under a new supervisor and was denied twice. My supervisor continues to harass and retaliate, with absolutely no intervention from anyone in the command.

My supervisor uses fear and intimidation to bully and I am not the first to experience this, at least 5 other women complained over the last year or so and were basically told it is a communication problem, seek mediation to work it out. Nobody ever answered the concerns and that women felt unsafe around this supervisor, which has me where I am today.

The retaliation is too much and I've asked for ADR to settle. Within a week, we have a date set for a month from now. My problem is that I've been told that I'll be meeting with the mediator and my supervisor- which doesn't make sense to me. My complaint is in the formal stage and this isn't about sitting down to talk about problems in the office, but that is how the EO director is describing it to me.

Has anyone had ADR (mediation) to settle after a formal complaint has been filed? What should I expect? My understanding is that I'll talk to an agency representative with the authorities to settle, not my supervisor who has no authority. I don't want to waste my time if this is being done wrong, which it definitely feels like it is.
frankgonzalez  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, December 12, 2018 4:12:30 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: emrlddragon Go to Quoted Post
My EEO complaint is in the 180 day investigation stage- agency has until mid April to complete. During the informal I asked to be moved to a new office or be under a new supervisor and was denied twice. My supervisor continues to harass and retaliate, with absolutely no intervention from anyone in the command.

My supervisor uses fear and intimidation to bully and I am not the first to experience this, at least 5 other women complained over the last year or so and were basically told it is a communication problem, seek mediation to work it out. Nobody ever answered the concerns and that women felt unsafe around this supervisor, which has me where I am today.

The retaliation is too much and I've asked for ADR to settle. Within a week, we have a date set for a month from now. My problem is that I've been told that I'll be meeting with the mediator and my supervisor- which doesn't make sense to me. My complaint is in the formal stage and this isn't about sitting down to talk about problems in the office, but that is how the EO director is describing it to me.

Has anyone had ADR (mediation) to settle after a formal complaint has been filed? What should I expect? My understanding is that I'll talk to an agency representative with the authorities to settle, not my supervisor who has no authority. I don't want to waste my time if this is being done wrong, which it definitely feels like it is.
I'm a mediator..I have done mediation for cases that are in the hearing stage, so mediation can be done at each and every stage if both parties want to try it.

That said, by EEO policy, the Responsible Management Official (the person named as being the one doing the discrimination) cannot be the settlement authority (see https://www.eeoc.gov/federal/dir...ves/md-110_chapter_3.cfm "An assurance that the agency will make accessible an individual with settlement authority, and that no responsible management official or agency official directly involved in the case will serve as the person with settlement authority."), so if your preferred settlement is a transfer to another supervisor, I'd suggest you talk to the EEO director setting up the mediation and request someone other than the person named be sitting at the table to represent the settlement authority.

If they tell you that your supervisor is the settlement authority, I'd would tell the EEO director it appears the agency isn't going to the mediation in good faith considering that having the RMO as settlement authority violates MD-110, chapter 3. Then see what they do...

Edited by user Wednesday, December 12, 2018 4:13:20 AM(UTC)  | Reason: typos

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
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emrlddragon on 12/12/2018(UTC)
emrlddragon  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, December 12, 2018 6:06:14 AM(UTC)
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This is the response from the EO Director:
"I will pass along your concerns, the agency will make someone accessible as the settlement authority, this doesn’t mean they have to sit in the mediations."

Our agency doesn't appear to be concerned with MD-110, the director says that because the complaints are about my supervisor that makes him the most appropriate person to be at the table. I think I'd rather just let the investigation take place, this isn't going to be worth the time.
frankgonzalez  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, December 12, 2018 7:22:02 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: emrlddragon Go to Quoted Post
This is the response from the EO Director:
"I will pass along your concerns, the agency will make someone accessible as the settlement authority, this doesn’t mean they have to sit in the mediations."

Our agency doesn't appear to be concerned with MD-110, the director says that because the complaints are about my supervisor that makes him the most appropriate person to be at the table. I think I'd rather just let the investigation take place, this isn't going to be worth the time.
The agency can have who they like at the table (depending on the case, I typically have management put someone other than the RMO at the table at least initially. Based on the discussions, the RMO may be brought in, especially if the RMO will play a role in the solution which will be part of the settlement agreement (ie the RMO needs to give quarterly feedback to the complainant on work product...they should be in the discussions on how that will play out. Will it be face to face, in writing, both?)

In some cases, the issues make sense the RMO be the Settlement Authority's voice at the table. (an example is someone is named because they are the 2nd level supervisor, but were not involved in the decision that led to the action resulting in the complaint.).

Every case is unique, but my preference when I set up mediation is to look at the requested remedy, then seek out the best person to sit at the table for the agency side. Sometimes the person for the agency is not even in the same workcenter or chain of command as the complainant or RMO, but the settlement authority believes they have a better chance of resolving the complaint for positive outcomes for both the agency and the complainant. Not a guarantee of course, but setting up the best chance from the get go.

Not knowing your agency or location, I can't say why they have taken this position...but this is the viewpoint of many mediators, especially those whose training was years ago. The folks I have worked with (my past and current agencies)...or at least the locations I controlled and influenced the process, we looked to set up the best chance from outset..that often means not putting the RMO in the room if we could help it.

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
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emrlddragon on 12/12/2018(UTC)
emrlddragon  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, December 12, 2018 11:55:49 AM(UTC)
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Thank you so much for the replies.
My supervisor has continued to harass me, single me out and retaliate for participating in the EO process. What started with a simple request for leave for medical appointments has turned into 6 months of nonstop bullying. The disparate treatment is easy to show and I have more than enough proving it, most is done in email and also in front of other people.
My supervisor has no authorities to come to a settlement and nothing that I will ask for at this point will involve him- especially since he made it known about a month ago that he is retiring sometime before April (but was elusive with the exact date). Since he announced his retirement to the office staff the treatment has gotten worse, there are no consequences and he's leaving anyway so he really has no incentive to stop. Sending him to the table at mediation will be a waste of time for everyone involved and will only give him another avenue of control and opportunity to bully.

I want to come to a settlement, not discuss the details of the complaint, which I didn't think was the point of ADR at this stage. The complaint has been accepted by the agency in whole with nothing dismissed and waiting for assignment of an investigator. I have had to learn way to much about this process and never in my worst nightmare thought I would be in this situation and it has been helpful to read of others experiences here in this forum. After 6 months I have been through enough and with so many complaints and careers affected, I have no idea why someone in higher leadership didn't do something.
frankgonzalez  
#6 Posted : Thursday, December 13, 2018 4:04:48 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: emrlddragon Go to Quoted Post
Thank you so much for the replies.
My supervisor has continued to harass me, single me out and retaliate for participating in the EO process. What started with a simple request for leave for medical appointments has turned into 6 months of nonstop bullying. The disparate treatment is easy to show and I have more than enough proving it, most is done in email and also in front of other people.
My supervisor has no authorities to come to a settlement and nothing that I will ask for at this point will involve him- especially since he made it known about a month ago that he is retiring sometime before April (but was elusive with the exact date). Since he announced his retirement to the office staff the treatment has gotten worse, there are no consequences and he's leaving anyway so he really has no incentive to stop. Sending him to the table at mediation will be a waste of time for everyone involved and will only give him another avenue of control and opportunity to bully.

I want to come to a settlement, not discuss the details of the complaint, which I didn't think was the point of ADR at this stage. The complaint has been accepted by the agency in whole with nothing dismissed and waiting for assignment of an investigator. I have had to learn way to much about this process and never in my worst nightmare thought I would be in this situation and it has been helpful to read of others experiences here in this forum. After 6 months I have been through enough and with so many complaints and careers affected, I have no idea why someone in higher leadership didn't do something.
You can tell the EEO director that while you wish to try mediation, you will not sit in the room with your supervisor based on the abuse, ridicule, etc he as done to you since filing your EEO complaint. You cannot consider the agency to be acting in good faith if they require you to participate with him.

And be prepared to walk away from ADR if you say this. Let the investigation occur...and once he retires, reach back out to the agency and say, "I'm still interested in mediation, I just could not sit in the room with the person who has harassed me. He is no longer here, are you still willing to try to resolve this?" The agency may decide they would prefer to try without your supervisor in the room. In fact, as your complaint is in the formal stage, ask for the contact info of the agency attorney assigned to your complaint. And tell them your concerns with mediation with the RMO. They may be able to influence the settlement official to send someone else instead.

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
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emrlddragon on 12/13/2018(UTC)
emrlddragon  
#7 Posted : Thursday, December 13, 2018 10:47:17 AM(UTC)
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Thank you so much for the advise. I did tell the EO Director that I am not interested in mediation to discuss the details with my supervisor or to ask him to be the secondary mediator, who will relay information to the settlement official. I believe these are tactics to intimidate me or dissuade me from pursuing and I am not going to participate in that. I told them I am comfortable letting the investigation take place, I just got notice that one was assigned to my case- so I am even more ready to walk away now. I know what happened to me was wrong, there is plenty of proof of the negative actions taken against me and the disparate treatment is easy to show.
I tried in good faith- I asked numerous times for a new supervisor, to be moved to a new office, be detailed and was told no. Almost 2 weeks ago I asked again to be detailed because the reprisal has not stopped and I gave more than enough information that it will continue until he retires, since he has no incentive to stop. This time I was approved but I had asked the EO director at the same time to ask for ADR to come to settlement and this is where it got to this point of her saying that my supervisor would be the one to mediate with me.
No thank you.
DroneBee  
#8 Posted : Friday, December 14, 2018 9:07:08 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: emrlddragon Go to Quoted Post
at least 5 other women complained over the last year.


Can the 5 of you pitch in for a lawyer and put in a class-action suit? I'm not sure of the legalities - but a good lawyer should be able to help.

My continual advice is to get another job now while you have a job.

Best of luck - God Speed.
emrlddragon  
#9 Posted : Friday, December 14, 2018 7:06:02 PM(UTC)
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I am not worried about losing my job and actually have an offer for a promotion, the transfer will take a few months- our organization is just slow. I have been approved for a 120 day detail to another office and I will go there while I wait for my promotion to process. Also in that time, will possibly be the mediation- depending on who the agency decides to bring to the table.
My supervisor has been really good at making my daily life miserable in that office, creating unnecessary drama and conflict, maligning co-workers against each other and more- but what he won't do is intimidate or push me around. The announcement of his "retirement" was coincidentally the same day I received the notice that my complaint was accepted by the agency for investigation. The retaliation has been awful, but accepting his behavior was not an option.
FedUpFed25x  
#10 Posted : Saturday, December 15, 2018 4:14:48 AM(UTC)
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In many ways your case seems a bit similar to mine. Unfortunately, I did not have a good outcome.

Much of it depends on the Agency you are working for. Unfortunately, I was assigned to an Agency rife with good-ole-boys and a culture of corruption.

I went through two mediation sessions (where the Agency violated what we had agreed on) and even a direction by an EEOC judge for "specialized" mediation and STILL my agency refused to mediate in good faith. In each and every mediation session, despite what they said and agreed to, they reneged on everything. My attorneys (supposedly one of the "best" in the country/D.C.) said there really wasn't anything they could do other than file more paperwork/objections. Meaning, costing me more money.

After the last mediation session directed by the EEOC judge to come to an agreement on a specific issue, they refused to honor the agreement. I had it in writing, too. My attorneys said they couldn't make the Agency do it if they didn't want to, nor could the EEOC judge. So what was the point? Well as far as I can see, it was a way to suck more money out of my bank account. A total waste of time.

This is the important point, IMO -- EEOC judges do not have the authority to make the Agency do anything they don't want to. And any breach along the way can only addressed by yet more objections, more time dragging it out, and more money. IT IS NOT WORTH IT!

In the meantime, the Agency continued to retaliate against me by finding anything they cold to build up a case against me. In fact, the Agency attorney point-blank said that their intention was to apply progressive discipline" to me with a goal towards removal. Keep in mind, I had a 25+ years of flawless service without a single bad performance review nor any disciplinary action in all that time.

They ultimately forced me out with an early retirement (at significant penalty) which will cost me AND MY FAMILY more than $250K in lost retirement income based on my financial advisor's assessment. But at least I was able to retire. Of course, I could no longer pay the high-priced lawyer's fees so guess what happened to my case?

Bitter? Hell, yes. My perpetrators continue to work with no repercussions, and are high-fiving for getting rid of this "problem" who dared speak out against violations of law and will continue to discriminate and retaliate with impunity. And all of us, American taxpayers, are paying for them to do so.

Yep, that's what I got for standing up against what was wrong. For the rest of my life, when I get that hugely reduced annuity deposit every month, I will briefly think of them and hope Karma catches up with them.

I hope you have a better outcome. At least they have agreed to move you, which they wouldn't even do in my case (despite agreeing to it in mediation) because, as they blatently stated, their ultimate goal was to keep me in a position where they could retaliate against me.

Taught me a lesson. Yep, sure did.
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emrlddragon on 12/15/2018(UTC), DroneBee on 12/20/2018(UTC), SD Analyst on 1/22/2019(UTC)
FedUpFed25x  
#11 Posted : Saturday, December 15, 2018 4:25:32 AM(UTC)
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Oh, and I forgot to add that despite the fact that people knew I was fighting to stop this abhorrent discrimination/retaliation against us, they were all too fearful to do so.

This is the beauty of retaliation and why it works so well. Others saw what was being done to me and would not come forward to tell their own tale. Even in instances where they witnessed what happened, they conveniently "forgot" or "couldn't recall" when investigator asked.
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GO4IT! on 12/15/2018(UTC), emrlddragon on 12/15/2018(UTC), DroneBee on 12/20/2018(UTC)
nightchop  
#12 Posted : Saturday, December 15, 2018 9:35:48 AM(UTC)

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You have the right attitude, emrlddragon. I don't even need to tell you "good luck." I know you'll be fine based on the way you're handling the situation. I'm really sorry you have to go through this.
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emrlddragon on 12/15/2018(UTC)
emrlddragon  
#13 Posted : Saturday, December 15, 2018 10:17:09 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: FedUpFed25x Go to Quoted Post
Oh, and I forgot to add that despite the fact that people knew I was fighting to stop this abhorrent discrimination/retaliation against us, they were all too fearful to do so.

This is the beauty of retaliation and why it works so well. Others saw what was being done to me and would not come forward to tell their own tale. Even in instances where they witnessed what happened, they conveniently "forgot" or "couldn't recall" when investigator asked.



Wow, I am sorry to hear this. It is just a disgrace and then to take your flawless career and turn it upside down- it takes an especially low person/people to do all of that. It would be far less energy to just fix the problem, but that would mean people would have to have character and a sense of purpose in their job.

I am disgusted by the system our command has set up, it is a systemic problem that everyone is scared to speak up about. I guess my supervisor read me wrong or misheard me during our phone interview. The awful behavior didn't take long to start, within the first month. I had worked in another office in the command (moved to my current position for a promotion).

It is disheartening to know the process is set up to dissuade employees from asserting any rights, which we think are a benefit of tenured employment. The damage done to your family is disturbing and I'm very sorry to hear it didn't end better for you.
Hawaiiannative  
#14 Posted : Saturday, December 15, 2018 11:19:27 AM(UTC)
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Didn't end well for me either. And the trend for "inside" mediators for an agency that shall remain nameless, is so they can keep their dirty laundry internal. Because when an outsider sees the issues, it is all the more apparent that the entire situation is retaliation for Whistleblowing.

Once ADR and mediation starts, it is obvious that functional communication is over. And rarely ends well for the employee, because upper level management knows what is happening and doesn't care. Getting rid of the problem is the end goal.
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DroneBee on 12/20/2018(UTC)
emrlddragon  
#15 Posted : Saturday, December 15, 2018 11:56:02 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: nightchop Go to Quoted Post
You have the right attitude, emrlddragon. I don't even need to tell you "good luck." I know you'll be fine based on the way you're handling the situation. I'm really sorry you have to go through this.



Thank you. I have been told many times that I am brave for being willing to take on the agency, I don't really see it as bravery. There are many people who are willing to be witnesses and wanted me to list their names. Nobody wanted to be the one filing the complaint because everyone knows the retaliation soon follows for anyone who dares stand up. I have no issue standing up for what is right, even if I stand alone. And even though it made me sick to fill out the form, against the service- it had to be done.
This is how I see it, you are not respected by someone discriminating against you and they see you as weak and worthless. Whether you complain or not, the negative environment and actions will take a toll over time. The complaint just sped up the timeline in how he was treating me anyway and honestly brought out of the woodwork, the people that are complicit in the discrimination. It was eye opening for me. Our top leadership has had no idea what is going on, now there are eyes on it. I'm disgusted that I had to go down this road and never imagined I'd be in this situation. It is not easy and I don't expect the agency to be forthcoming, the best thing is that my supervisor really enjoyed doing everything in email. If this doesn't get worked in mediation, I'm perfectly fine to just keep moving forward. I've got double of everything printed out- one for me and one for the investigator, so I'm good either way.

nightchop  
#16 Posted : Saturday, December 15, 2018 12:48:37 PM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: emrlddragon Go to Quoted Post
This is how I see it, you are not respected by someone discriminating against you and they see you as weak and worthless.



This is key. I wish more people understood this. I don't believe the knee-jerk reaction should be to file a complaint if you are experiencing problems in the workplace, but sometimes it's the only viable option. Managers who discriminate are typically bullies. In my opinion, adults engaging in bullying behavior are already developmentally challenged, so to expect a person like that to be rational in their thinking is naive. They're just like schoolyard bullies. The kid who doesn't hit back is the kid that will continue to get picked on. Most bullies, once they get socked in the jaw, learn to back off and move on to an easier target. Sometimes the only recourse you have is to punch back with a complaint.
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emrlddragon on 12/15/2018(UTC)
emrlddragon  
#17 Posted : Saturday, December 15, 2018 1:00:30 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: nightchop Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: emrlddragon Go to Quoted Post
This is how I see it, you are not respected by someone discriminating against you and they see you as weak and worthless.



This is key. I wish more people understood this. I don't believe the knee-jerk reaction should be to file a complaint if you are experiencing problems in the workplace, but sometimes it's the only viable option. Managers who discriminate are typically bullies. In my opinion, adults engaging in bullying behavior are already developmentally challenged, so to expect a person like that to be rational in their thinking is naive. They're just like schoolyard bullies. The kid who doesn't hit back is the kid that will continue to get picked on. Most bullies, once they get socked in the jaw, learn to back off and move on to an easier target. Sometimes the only recourse you have is to punch back with a complaint.



Yes, I agree that a complaint is definitely a last resort. For me it was the only viable option because I knew what was happening was only the beginning. Also, the federal process for EO only gives you 45 days, so you have to decide quickly what the course of action will be. Not long after the incidents started with me, I found out that this supervisor is known for how he treats women and that this behavior has been going on the entire time he had been in that office. I tried numerous times to discuss things with him and after I went to his supervisor, I knew that my only option was a complaint. There are some problems that cannot be fixed by ignoring them and cannot be tolerated and definitely not when dealing with the developmentally challenged.
We have referred to them as 7th graders, gossiping and creating drama.
emrlddragon  
#18 Posted : Sunday, December 30, 2018 6:00:56 PM(UTC)
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A quick update. I have been assigned an investigator and things are moving forward, actually quicker than I expected honestly. I found out that my supervisor will not be in the mediation meeting and the person from the "agency" definitely has settlement authority. I am disgusted that this was the only method of handling this situation, we have no policies in place for handling things at a lower level. When I made the harassment known to someone in my chain of command, I was told that if I didn't agree with the decision (basically his decision to do nothing), then I could file an IG complaint or contact my congressman. Wow, that escalated quickly- never once did he talk to me after I brought the situations to his attention and then says take it to IG?!?! And even worse, the email that he sent to me was full of wrong information and copy/pasted responses from the legal advisor.
The legal advisor has basically been acting as a personal attorney for supervisors that want to intimidate employees into being quiet. I want to do my job and be treated with respect, never in my career have I seen anything like this.
I am not sure what will happen with the mediation, but I don't have any problem walking away if they are not acting in good faith.
emrlddragon  
#19 Posted : Monday, January 21, 2019 12:00:02 PM(UTC)
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Mediation is coming up soon and I must say that I don't see this coming to any agreement. I think I would prefer this to go forward because the investigation notice has come out and I believe it is pretty thorough- asking for more of the agency than I expected.
If an agreement is made at mediation, I will not receive the ROI, correct? I would rather wait, my documents up front are what prompted the investigator to request the specific documentation and I'm certain there will be no answers from the agency.

I need this to be over, for my health and well-being. I want this to get fixed so that the systemic problems can be addressed.
frankgonzalez  
#20 Posted : Tuesday, January 22, 2019 3:30:17 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: emrlddragon Go to Quoted Post
Mediation is coming up soon and I must say that I don't see this coming to any agreement. I think I would prefer this to go forward because the investigation notice has come out and I believe it is pretty thorough- asking for more of the agency than I expected.
If an agreement is made at mediation, I will not receive the ROI, correct? I would rather wait, my documents up front are what prompted the investigator to request the specific documentation and I'm certain there will be no answers from the agency.

I need this to be over, for my health and well-being. I want this to get fixed so that the systemic problems can be addressed.
If you reach an agreement, the complaint stops at that point. If you haven't received the ROI, you won't once you settle. That said, the investigation continues until an agreement is reached or a decision is made (typically by an AJ).

As for the agency failing to provide the documents requested by the investigator...that opens up potential sanctions at the hearing stage for failing to complete an investigation and provide a proper record as a result.



You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
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