Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, a member of the National Whistleblowers Center’s Board of Directors and founder and leader of the No FEAR Coalition, will be appearing before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) tomorrow, February 9, 2011, objecting to her removal from the Environmental Protection Agency in January of 2009.
This is another case against the agency by Dr. Coleman-Adebayo, who is now defending herself from retaliation and the failure of the agency to provide her with reasonable accommodation as a disabled person. Dr. Coleman-Adebayo alleges that the continuous harassment and discriminatory management culture inside the EPA that has continued unabated against her since she first won a court victory in 2000 for retaliation based on race, sex, and color discrimination.
Dr. Coleman-Adebayo stated in her press release issued today, February 8, 2011,
"What’s the difference between threatening phone calls, threats of rape, name calling, being assigned responsibilities outside one’s expertise, being denied requests for reasonable accommodation, and being fired for reasons of disability? They’re all from different chapters of a playbook that will stop at nothing to punish, shun, impugn and marginalize whistleblowers."
The press release is available below:
EPA Whistleblower Returns to Court with Charges of Agency Retaliation and Discrimination
Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo will be back in court tomorrow contesting her firing from the Environmental Protection Agency in January 2009 during the transition to the Obama administration. Her Merit Systems Protection Board hearing is scheduled for February 9, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. This is yet another serious case against the agency by Coleman-Adebayo, who is now defending herself from retaliation and the failure of the agency to provide her with reasonable accommodation as a disabled person. She alleges that the continuous harassment and discriminatory management culture inside the EPA that has continued unabated against her since she first won a court victory in 2000. In that case based on race, sex and color discrimination in Coleman-Adebayo v. Carol Browner, the jury also found that the agency created a hostile work environment. Because of the years of discrimination, Coleman-Adebayo’s health deteriorated and she alleges that the agency then used the very thing they did to her to fire her. “They were mad for losing the case and did not care how long it took to fire me.”
"What’s the difference between threatening phone calls, threats of rape, name calling, being assigned responsibilities outside one’s expertise, being denied requests for reasonable accommodation, and being fired for reasons of disability?" Coleman-Adebayo asks. "They’re all from different chapters of a playbook that will stop at nothing to punish, shun, impugn and marginalize whistleblowers."
The costs of defending oneself against the U.S. government are staggering. Added to the financial burden are those caused by the continuous stress, the toll it takes on your entire family and the destruction of a career. It is not hard to see why most federal workers keep quiet when they see serious violations. Add the fact that it takes an extremely long time to be heard or very few employees prevail in the systems designed to protect them from government corruption.
In spite of this, many women inside the EPA have had it with the agency and are willingly coming forward. "There are several women who have collectively blown the whistle on the EPA’s Office of Civil Rights and the Directors the agency continues to support in spite of serious problems. There are many wonderful employees throughout EPA, but there is a small cadre of managers who trample on people’s civil rights. These hooligans should have been ferreted out years ago for the disservice their actions represent and the enormous costs to the American taxpayers."
Many of the same managers implicated in Coleman-Adebayo’s trial verdict have "thrived in an agency that has shown stunning indifference to the plight of people of color and women," Coleman-Adebayo continued. "Yet, we still have many colleagues who have decided enough is enough and I am sure we will be hearing from some of them in the future. Win, lose or draw, the agency has not heard the last from me, the others who are coming forth, or the throngs of others who will be inspired by our actions today."
EPA was cited as failing to process Title VI discrimination complaints filed against the agency by external groups on environmental issues in a recent case, Rosemere Neighborhood Association v. EPA, of having failed to process some complaints for up to ten years. The appeals court ruling found the agency engaged in a "pattern of delay" in addressing discrimination complaints.
“The agency’s performance in civil rights after my case and passage of the NoFEAR Act in 2002 is abysmal. My case speaks directly to President Obama’s promise of transparency and the need for protecting whistleblowers. I am sure that he did not mean that leaders in his administration should look the other way and support people like Raphael DeLeon, who is known for his threatening and retaliatory management style and actions against employees, particularly women.”
Merit Systems Protection Board
Washington, D.C. Regional Office
800 Diagonal Road, Suite 205
Alexandria, Virginia 22314-2840
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
KMB Media Group
*Sabeen Khanmohamed (a NWC intern) contributed to this posting