Pages 96-96a of Social Security Document Submission
If it hadn’t been for the former ambassador to the Soviet Union, the fascists would have finished him off.
[Page 96A is a Xerox copy of page 624 of Peter Gay’s biography Freud: A Life for Our Time. The pertinent section reads:]
[Hull passed the message on to President Franklin Roosevelt, and noted on the following day that “in accord-]ance with the President’s instructions,” he had requested the ambassador in Berlin, Hugh Robert Wilson, “to take this matter up personally and informally with the appropriate German authorities”; Wilson was to try to arrange for the Freud family to go to Paris, “where the President is informed friends are anxious to receive him.” From then on, Freud’s fate enlisted interest in the highest quarters of the American government, with the State Department--Cordell Hull, his powerful second in command, Sumner Welles, and the American ambassadors in Paris and Berlin--most closely involved. Wiley wired the secretary of state on March 17 that while Freud’s passport had been confiscated, the “Vienna Police President” had promised “personal interest in the case.” [Former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union William] Bullitt’s energetic representations to the German ambassador to Paris, Count von Welczeck, that any mistreatment of Freud would scandalize the world, also did Freud’s prospects no harm.
Page 97 of Social Security Document Submission
Re paragraph 36 of my statement note that:
1) It was on Saturday March 9, 1991 that I had an extended telephone conversation with Craig [W. Dye], a tape recording of which I believe Craig sent to firm management. This telephone conversation would have heightened management’s suspicions about the reason for my isolation at the firm, and would have buttressed management’s belief that my isolation was attributable in part to anti-Semitism. [During my phone conversation with Craig, I heard clicking noises and what sounded like Craig fumbling with the tape in his telephone answering machine. I had formed the suspicion that Bob Strauss had listened to the tape of my telephone conversation with Craig. Bob Strauss happened to see me during the week of March 11, 1991, and smiled broadly.]
2) It was on Friday March 15, 1991 that I met with psychologist, Dr. Stephen Stein, the first Jewish mental health professional that I was to speak with.
[I had entered psychotherapy with Stanley R. Palombo, M.D. in January 1990.
Oddly, I can still remember the afternoon of Friday March 15, 1991. The fire alarm went off in the firm that afternoon before I left to see Dr. Stein. I can recall David Tobin, Esq. and Michael Dolan, Esq. (an associate hired in 1990) chatting in the hallway on the ninth floor. Michael Dolan had graduated Annapolis and had served in the U.S. Navy. He seemed like a fine young man. When I saw Tobin and Dolan together, I remember thinking "birds of a feather flock together."]
Page 98 of Social Security Document Submission
I added very important material to paragraph 36 that I want to share with you.
[The note is handwritten.]
Pages 99-102 of Social Security Document Submission
[The following is an excerpt from a summary of harassing incidents that I provided to the D.C. Department of Human Rights in about December 1991, and upon which the agency based its complaint, filed by the agency on February 4, 1992. The complete document is part of the record on appeal in Freedman v. D.C. Department of Human Rights, D.C.C.A. no. 96-CV-961 (Sept. 1, 1998). The document is the earliest record of my perception of my employment experience at Akin Gump and the earliest record of the facts concerning my job termination.]
[Conclusion of paragraph 35:] (My “LMS” attorney time record should reflect a meeting with Constance Brown re discussion of transcript digesting some time during the summer of 1990 while Chris Robertson was on vacation).
36. In mid-March 1991 two apparently related incidents, perpetrated anonymously, occurred on successive days. One morning, probably during the week of March 11, 1991, upon arriving at my desk on the ninth floor, I noticed that someone had taken a dagger-shaped letter opener from a drawer in my desk and had positioned it with the blade inserted between the pages of a bound volume of documents and with the handle protruding from the bound volume. The letter opener, positioned as it was, gave the impression of a symbolic stabbing. The next morning upon arriving at the office, I observed that someone had strewn my desk with pieces of paper napkin that had been shredded into tiny pieces. Also, on a piece of 8.5” x 11” paper placed on my desk, someone had written in bold, upper case letters the phrase, "WHITE TRASH."
(The bound volume of documents in which the letter opener had been placed concerned the client, LL&E. The 8.5” x 11” piece of paper on which the phrase “WHITE TRASH” had been written was the reverse side of a computer printout relating to the client, LL&E. At that time I was working on LL&E under the direction of Ms. Lutheria Harrison, a black employee in the litigation support group. It is possible that some third party had perpetrated the acts described above in an attempt to get me to complain to a supervisory employee or member of management, with the ultimate intent to make it appear that I harbored a racial animus against black employees. Such contrived “evidence” of a putative racial animus could then be used to counteract any suggestion on my part that other employees’ harassing acts were motivated by anti-Semitism. That is, other employees could argue that my allegations of anti-Semitism were simply a projection of my own unacknowledged racial bias (see paragraph 37)).
37. On about Monday April 8, 1991 I was moved from office space on the ninth floor to the terrace level, where the litigation support group was housed (I remained in the terrace level until early August 1991, at which time I moved to the fourth floor, with my supervisor’s permission, to work on a task not typically performed on the terrace level). The time spent in the terrace level was particularly difficult for me. Attempts to be friendly with co-workers were often met with a hostile reaction. One afternoon, to cite just one example, I had a seemingly-normal and uneventful interaction with an employee, Ms. Dudley Patrick; the next day as that employee walked past my desk, she yelled out in an offensive manner, “scumbag!” Employees would frequently gather near my desk and engage in rowdy and raucous conversations. There were interminable references that I interpreted as relating to my friend Craig Dye, such as, “I could just die!,” “golden boy” [Craig has light-colored hair], etc.
One morning during the summer of 1991 employees made repeated references that seemed to relate to legal assistant Jesse Raben, with whom I had been somewhat friendly, and who had left the firm in the spring of 1990 to attend law school. I inferred that perhaps Jesse had had some communication with a firm employee and had referred to me in the communication. Upon returning to the office from lunch that afternoon, Chris Robertson offered me a piece of chocolate, with the peculiar statement, “Here, you look like you need some chocolate.” The statement could perhaps be interpreted as a reference to anal intercourse. Ms. Robertson’s statement was strangely reminiscent of my written message to [legal assistant coordinator] J.D. Neary in early August 1989 (“I could use all the 'coordinating' I can get.”) and J.D.'s written response dated August 7, 1989, “If you ever need any ‘coordinating’ don’t hesitate to call me” (see paragraph 26).
[I was hired as a full-time employee in August 1989. I had given a box of chocolates as a gift to Legal Assistant Administrator Maggie Sinnott (together with a note of appreciation) and a necktie as a gift to J.D. Neary (together with the aforementioned note.)]
During one of the weekly litigation support staff meetings, during the spring or summer of 1991, which were conducted by Chris Robertson, I was seated on the floor in front of Chris’ desk. A male employee, Barry Geia, stood up and walked past me, his hips passing directly in front of Chris’ desk, whereupon Chris started to whistle at me.
In about early August 1991 an employee, Ms. Lutheria Harrison, who sat at a desk adjacent to mine, was talking to another employee about her July telephone bill, emphasizing the word “July” (the word “July” could be read as a homophone for the phrase “Jew lie.”) This seemingly meaningless incident assumed some small measure of significance about two days later when the same employee, while seated at her desk, stated in a markedly audible tone of voice the children’s rhyme, “liar liar, pants on fire.” Then, a brief time later, the same employee, upon entering Chris Robertson’s office to attend a weekly staff meeting, sighed the Yiddish phrase, “Oy, veh!” (see paragraph 36).
The few incidents cited above simply serve to give the general tenor of a type of harassing and degrading interaction that occurred on a daily basis while I was working in the terrace level.
38. On the afternoon of October 2, 1991 I met with legal assistant Katherine Harkness to review some work I had been doing under her direction. I was seated in front of her desk. Kathy was in back of her desk, but leaning over it, supporting her torso with her elbows. As she was reviewing the work she proceeded in a continuous motion to gyrate her hips in a sexually suggestive manner while simultaneously expressing her work-related comments in the form of double entendres. This lasted for about two to four minutes.
39. On the afternoon of October 23, 1991 I met with attorney Mr. Earl Segal in his office to discuss some of the incidents of harassment that had occurred while I was employed at the firm. Mr. Segal is the partner who oversees the legal assistant program, and is the individual to whom J.D. Neary and Maggie Sinnott report. This was the first time in my three and one-half years at the firm that I had ever spoken to an attorney about the harassment that I was experiencing. I requested that I be placed in a private office so that I would not have to face litigation support personnel on a daily basis. I also requested that Mr. Segal consider the possibility of my being reassigned to the legal assistant group under J.D. Neary and Maggie Sinnott, so that I would no longer have to work for Chris Robertson in litigation support. Mr. Segal appeared to listen sympathetically to my grievances, and seemed to entertain my requests in a sincere manner.
40. On the morning of October 24, 1991, I was called to the office of Mr. Dennis Race to review with him, and Mr. Malcolm Lassman, the incidents I had discussed with Mr. Segal the previous afternoon. Mr. Race is the partner responsible for the investigation of allegations of sexual harassment. Mr. Lassman, a founding partner of the firm, is the member of the firm’s management committee who reports to the committee on issues relating to legal assistants.
I reviewed with Mr. Race and Mr. Lassman various incidents of sexual harassment and incidents that were arguably anti-Semitic in nature. Mr. Race noted that the harassment began early in my association with the firm, in March 1988 and involved various classes of individuals including attorneys, legal assistants, and supervisory personnel. Mr. Race also noted that my allegations of harassment fell into three categories, namely, sexual, anti-Semitic, and general harassing acts.
Mr. Lassman said he would get back to me.
41. About noon on Tuesday October 29, 1991 I was called to Mr. Race’s office. [The decision to terminate had been made the previous day, October 28, 1991, as evidenced by the severance check, dated October 28.] Present in addition to Mr. Race were the personnel administrator, Ms. Laurel Digweed, and my supervisor, Ms. Chris Robertson. Mr. Race advised me that the firm’s management committee had decided to terminate me. Mr. Race explained that there was a “lack of fit” between me and other firm personnel. He said that my allegations of harassment had been investigated and could not be substantiated. He added that during the course of his investigation employees had made allegations about me including statements that I was overly sensitive to criticism and that I simply ignored directions to correct my work.
Chris Robertson said nothing during the course of this meeting; she added nothing by way of corroboration or amplification.
As for my request for private office space, Mr. Race said this was not practicable from the firm’s standpoint. And, with regard to my request that I be reassigned to the legal assistant group, Mr. Race stated that J.D. Neary and Maggie Sinnott told him they could not work with me, that they found me difficult to work with, and that they were "afraid" of me.
[In Akin Gump's Response to Interrogatories filed with the Department of Human Rights on May 22, 1992, Dennis Race omitted any reference to the fact that he had investigated placing me in a private office and had investigated reassigning me to the legal assistant program.]
[Note the importance I attached to Dennis Race’s statement that he had spoken with “two consultants” who agreed that termination was the proper course of action in a situation like mine. In fact, Dennis Race had mentioned that he had spoken with “two consultants, but he failed to inform me that he consulted a practicing psychiatrist who had opined that I suffered from a mental disorder that might be associated with a risk of violence. An employer has a duty, arising out of common law, to disclose to an employee, prior to or during employment, information the employer acquires when a physician it engages discovers a serious medical problem while examining the employee in accordance with the employer's requirements. See Meinze v. Holmes, 532 N.E.2d 170, 173 (Ohio App. 1987) citing Betesh v. United States, 400 F.Supp. 238, 245 (D.D.C. 1974) (interpreting Maryland common law).]