A scene anyone familiar with mediocre (average = awful) management will instantly recognize the scene, as recounted by Casey Luskin in “Into the Bureaucratic Nightmare of “Human Resources”: How JPL’s Investigation Denied Fairness and Due Process to David Coppedge” at Evolution News & Views (March 28, 2012):
2. Huntley Failed to Follow JPL Procedures when Investigating Complaints Against David Coppedge
JPL has a variety of policies designed to ensure that those accused of workplace harassment receive some basic modicum of due process during the investigation of their behavior. In Huntley’s investigation, many of these policies appear to have been disregarded.
One important JPL policy requires that HR inform a person facing harassment complaints of the relevant investigation procedures. HR must give the accused party an opportunity to comment on the suitability of the investigator. Huntley claims she did this. However, at the time, David Coppedge wasn’t even aware of this right. Huntley never told David “You are being investigated for harassment and I am investigating you.” David Coppedge was never informed that he was being investigated at all. So how could he possibly comment on the suitability of the investigator? Of course he couldn’t.
Another requirement is that HR investigators must summarize, for the person facing complaints about himself, the evidence in support of the accusation. This is meant to allow the accused party the opportunity to reply to the charges. Again, Huntley claims she did that at a March 5, 2009, meeting with Mr. Coppedge, but her claim can’t possibly be true. Coppedge’s attorney, William Becker, exposed Huntley’s lie (or faulty memory, perhaps). Becker showed that at the March 5 meeting, Huntley didn’t yet even know the precise nature of the complaints against Coppedge. So obviously she couldn’t have informed him of the charges.
Consider this exchange. (Margaret Weisenfelder is Coppedge’s colleague who initially complained about his lending her a pro-intelligent design DVD.)
It gets better of course.
And after you read this, you will never ever try selling chocolate almonds for charity at work again. Don’t let anyone know what you care about.