Department of Human Rights and Minority Business Development
In the Matter of:
AKIN, GUMP, STRAUSS, HAUER & FELD,
Docket No. 92-087-P(N)
RESPONSE TO ADDITIONAL INTERROGATORIES AND REQUEST FOR DOCUMENTS
Q1. Identify the outside consultants with names, address and organization affiliation that Respondent, contacted in October 1991 regarding Complainant.
R1. After talking to Complainant and others, the undersigned and another lawyer (Malcolm Lassman, Managing Partner) decided to confirm the termination decision with outside professionals. Our law firm provides a service to all employees called Employee Assistance Program ("EAP") for professional counseling services for those employees experiencing personal problems such as drug or alcohol abuse, emotional distress, depression, stress, family problems or other personal difficulties (see attached copies). Therefore we deemed it appropriate to discuss Complainant's situation (anonymously) and our recommendation with this outside group. I do not have the identity of the counselor who spoke to us: however, as indicated earlier, she confirmed that removal from the work setting was the appropriate action to take. In addition, we spoke to Dr. Gertrude Ticho, a practicing psychiatrist in Washington, D.C. who is a personal friend of Mr. Lassman. By conference call, Mr. Lassman and I addressed our investigation findings (without identifying Complainant) as well as our proposed action. Dr. Ticho was very helpful and actually referred to Complainant's habit of putting accusatory or bizarre meanings to trivial matters as "Ideas of Reference." She felt the individual should be treated like any other employee and that if he was disruptive, the appropriate action to be taken would be to terminate his employment. She also cautioned that individuals with the characteristics we described could be prone to violence.
Accordingly, consistent with our normal disciplinary practices and out of concern for the safety and well being of other incumbent employees, we suggested to Complainant that he leave our employ. We explained to Complainant that because of his demands (and needs) to work in isolation, we could not (and felt we should not) continue his employ. Our discussions with Complainant were frank -- yet sensitive -- explaining that there was no longer a good "fit" for him and our firm. We also suggested he seek professional assistance.
Q2. Did the outside consultant's referred to in number 1, above, submit written reports to Respondent? If so, submit a copy of each consultant's report.
Q3. What was the basis for the statement in the Denis Race's memorandum dated October 29, 1991 regarding Complainant stating that Complainant was hard to supervise.
R3. The undersigned stated that "Complainant was hard to supervise" based on interviews conducted during his investigation with Complainant's immediate and former supervisor and other co-workers who uniformly stated that Complainant had emotional problems which made it difficult for him to work with co-workers, take suggestions from them, or take constructive criticism from supervisors. (Response to Particulars at p. 3):
"Claimant was uncomfortable communicating with his peers and required work that ensured total isolation. During the investigation of his concerns, it was brought out that his behavior had been disruptive, with occasional violent outbursts, and frightening to co-workers."
See also memorandum of Chris Robertson (supervisor) prepared for Dennis Race on October 25, 1991.
Q4. Submit copies of all statements made by co-workers regarding Complainant's behavior at work that Respondent relied upon to support its decision to terminate Complainant.
R4. Several employees were interviewed by the undersigned but no written statements were obtained other than those already provided.
Q5. Submit copies of all documents in Complainant's performance file that Respondent relied upon to support its decision to terminate.
R5. As previously stated, Complainant's substantive performance, as reflected in his written evaluations, was not an issue in the ultimate decision to terminate. Also, as previously stated, Complainant's sexual orientation was not a factor in the action taken by Respondent.
Dennis M. Race
Akin, Gump, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P.
1333 New Hampshire Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
Dated: May 17, 1993
I, Dennis M. Race, having read the above, state that the responses contained herein are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Dennis M. Race
SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this 18th day of May, 1993.
Diane Elisa Swanson
My Commission Expires February 14, 1994
(Record on appeal at 73-77, Freedman v. D.C. Dept. Human Rights, D.C.C.A. No. 96-CV-961 (Sept. 1, 1998).