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Partner James Oldendorph And Associate Jeff Stockley Convince Hearing Officer To Uphold Demotion Of IT Manager Of Fire Department
In a case handled by Jeff Stockley and James Oldendorph of our Los Angeles Office, a hearing officer upheld the demotion of a Fire Department’s IT Manager.
After the Department received a volume of complaints over the years alleging a hostile work environment under the Manager’s leadership, the Department hired an attorney to investigate. The investigation found that as the head of IT, the Manager failed to provide sufficient, effective, or responsible leadership. Rather, the Manager allowed a hostile work environment to grow and fester both by his own actions and omissions, and by failing to address the behavioral issues of two of his direct subordinates who also supervised many others. The Manager allowed this to happen despite employees submitting numerous complaints about the work environment and speaking directly to him. By letting the hostile work environment persist, workplace dysfunction took over and resulted in employees crying at work, taking stress leave, dreading coming to work, and fearing retaliation if they complained.
The hearing officer found that the Manager’s failure to address the known and documented behavioral issues in his division supported his demotion. The hearing officer upheld the demotion and, in fact, added that she would have fired the Manager if she could. Additionally, the hearing officer recommended that the Manager not be allowed to supervise any employees throughout the remainder of his career with the Department.