Monday, December 07, 2009

Akin Gump: Carefully Constructed Lies -- Part II: Sheppard Pratt

The law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld had alleged to the D.C. Department of Human Rights (DHR) that as part of its investigation of my complaint of harassment, in late October 1991, it had contacted an unnamed counselor from its Employee Assistance Program who "confirmed that removal from the work setting was the appropriate action to take" with respect to me [Rec. 122]. In response to a specific information request posed by DHR, Dennis M. Race, Esq. was unable to state the identity of the Sheppard Pratt counselor with whom he consulted [Rec. 122].

In rebuttal, I submitted to DHR a letter dated July 14, 1993 issued by the Director of Washington Operations of Sheppard Pratt Preferred Resources, the employer's Employee Assistance Program Provider, stating that that mental health resource had no record of any communication with either Dennis Race or Malcolm Lassman, the two attorney managers to whom I made my harassment complaint on October 24, 1991 [Rec. 63-64]. Sheppard Pratt policy mandates that its counselors prepare a written record--on an Employer Consultation Intake Form--of any communications with employers concerning a potential employee-client and that the record be maintained in a file of mental health information [Rec. 65]; this policy applies even in instances in which the consultation with the employer is not "employee-specific" [R. 65]. The providing of a representation of the kind that Akin Gump claims to have sought and obtained from an unnamed Sheppard Pratt counselor regarding my suitability for continued employment is not consistent with Sheppard Pratt policy [Rec. 63, 64].

Dennis Race claimed that Sheppard Pratt concurred in the firm's decision to terminate me; actually such action is contrary to Sheppard Pratt's business policy, as explained below.

Here's the letter from Sheppard Pratt:

Sheppard Pratt Preferred Resources, Inc.

July 14, 1993

Gary Freedman
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008

Dear Mr. Freedman

This letter is in response to your recent inquiry about your case file.

With regard to your question concerning EAP consultation with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld:

We have no record of contact concerning you with either Dennis Race or Malcolm Lassman.

With regard to your question about Sheppard Pratt EAP's role in providing consultation to employers regarding employees whose job performance is affected by personal problems (attendance, quality/quantity of work or workplace conduct):

When an employer calls to discuss a troubled employee, we inquire about the history of documentation to determine if the employee's problem is chronic or in early stages. If the employer hasn't documented any earlier problem we suggest a statement of concern and an informal referral to the EAP. This can often prevent the problems from intensifying if the client follows up with recommendations. If the problem is chronic and there is documentation of a pattern of behavior impacting on job performance over a long period of time, we recommend a formal referral to the EAP. The purpose is to provide confidential intervention/support or accommodation to the problem which if addressed could ultimately lead to termination.

We do not tell employers to terminate employees. If an employer has months of documentation and has followed internal disciplinary procedures, i.e., providing verbal, written and suspension as counseling techniques it is the company's decision to fire for cause. Generally, employers do not call to ask EAP advice about terminating employees. They may call us to inform us about their decision if they know the employee was referred to the EAP, yet the performance problems continued over a long period of time. If we do not oppose the decision, this does not imply that we concur in the decision to terminate the employee.


Suzanne Reynolds, M.A., CEAP
Assistant Director
Director -- Washington Operations
Employee Assistance Programs


record on appeal at 63-64

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