Monday, February 06, 2012

Akin Gump: Paralegal Evaluations -- Did the D.C. Government Defraud the D.C. Court of Appeals?

In early August 1989 (the time period covered by the following job performance review), a coworker said to me "We're all afraid of you.  We're all afraid you're going to buy a gun, bring it in, and shoot everybody." Brief of Appellee D.C. Department of Human Rights v. Freedman, D.C.C.A. no. 96-CV-961 (Sept. 1, 1999).  The following job evaluation specifically rated my ability to work with others "Above Average."  

The D.C. Corporation Counsel represented to the D.C. Court of Appeals that the above statement of a coworker was evidence of my difficulty in getting along with others rather than evidence of a hostile work environment created by others.  At the time the D.C. Corporation Counsel filed the above cited brief (July 25, 1997) the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) was considering whether to approve the continuance of my disability benefits.  Arguably, the D.C. Corporation Counsel defrauded the SSA as well as the D.C. Court of Appeals.  (The literature recognizes that fears by coworkers that the target of workplace mobbing will become violent is evidence of a hostile work environment.)

TO: Gary Freedman

FROM: Maggie Sinnott
J.D. Neary

SUBJECT: Year-End Evaluations

DATE: December 7, 1989

Enclosed please find copies of your 1989 Year-End Evaluations. Please review the evaluations and call us if you would like to discuss them with us.

Also enclosed are spreadsheets and a key detailing your evaluations. If there is an error on the spreadsheet, please let us know so that we may correct it.

As we discussed last week, we will be arranging evaluation meetings with one of the attorneys from your section. If you would prefer speaking with a specific attorney, please contact us as soon as possible.



O = Outstanding

AA = Above Average

A = Average

BA = Below Average

P = Poor

N/A = No Basis to Evaluate

NAME: Gary Freedman

[Supervisor:]   C[onstance] Brown













In a sworn declaration filed with the D.C. Department of Human Rights Dennis Race stated:

Claimant, Gary Freedman, was initially employed by Respondent law firm, Akin, Gump, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P. as a temporary employee for a specific project (See Attachment B) [June 13, 1988]. Later Claimant was employed as a full-time legal assistant ("paralegal") to manage massive amounts of documents for a major client (See Attachment C) [July 31, 1989]. Shortly thereafter, the client filed for bankruptcy protection [March 9, 1989] and eventually the legal work diminished. In an attempt to find comparable work for the Claimant, a decision was made to transfer him to the Litigation Support Department [March 1990]. Because Claimant preferred to work in isolation, Respondent attempted to accommodate him -- and did so until work and space constraints became a problem (See Attachment D).


Gary Freedman said...


Kenneth Westhues, 2006

As workplace mobbing becomes more widely known and deplored, it is to be expected that many workers in academe, as in other fields, will claim to be mobbed as a way of warding off criticism and strengthening their positions in office politics. Indeed, many workers will genuinely feel that they are being mobbed and will attribute lack of sympathy from others as proof that the others are part of the mob. It is therefore essential that any claimed or apparent case of mobbing be subjected to hard-nosed scrutiny in light of empirical indicators, measurable criteria by which to conclude that yes, this is a case of mobbing, or no, it is not.

Below is a checklist of 16 indicators or measures that I have used in my research, and offered on workshop handouts entitled, "WAMI, The Waterloo Anti-Mobbing Instruments (PDF)." In the introduction to my 2006 book, The Prevention and Remedy of Mobbing in Higher Education, I apply these 16 indicators systematically to two different mobbing cases, to illustrate variations on common themes. There is nothing sacred about the list. In my book, The Envy of Excellence, the 16 indicators are boiled down to ten. Perhaps the most important indicator is shown here as No. 12, the enlargement of some real or imagined misdeed or fault in order to smear the target's whole identity, so that he or she is seen as personally abhorrent — a totally alien other, a dangerous, repugnant entity that turns the stomachs of good and decent people.

1. By standard criteria of job performance, the target is at least average, probably above average.

2. Rumours and gossip circulate about the target’s misdeeds: “Did you hear what she did last week?”

3. The target is not invited to meetings or voted onto committees, is excluded or excludes self.

4. Collective focus on a critical incident that “shows what kind of man he really is.”

5. Shared conviction that the target needs some kind of formal punishment, “to be taught a lesson.”

6. Unusual timing of the decision to punish, e. g., apart from the annual performance review.

7. Emotion-laden, defamatory rhetoric about the target in oral and written communications.

8. Formal expressions of collective negative sentiment toward the target, e. g. a vote of censure, signatures on a petition, meeting to discuss what to do about the target.

9. High value on secrecy, confidentiality, and collegial solidarity among the mobbers.

10. Loss of diversity of argument, so that it becomes dangerous to “speak up for”or defend the target.

11. The adding up of the target’s real or imagined venial sins to make a mortal sin that cries for action.

12. The target is seen as personally abhorrent, with no redeeming qualities; stigmatizing, exclusionary labels are applied.

13. Disregard of established procedures, as mobbers take matters into their own hands.

14. Resistance to independent, outside review of sanctions imposed on the target.

15. Outraged response to any appeals for outside help the target may make.

16. Mobbers’ fear of violence from target, target’s fear of violence from mobbers, or both.

Gary Freedman said...

The Big Lie:

Gary Freedman said...

George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four refers to the Big Lie theory on several occasions.

For example:

"The key-word here is blackwhite. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts."

Definition of doublethink:

"To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed...."

Gary Freedman said...

Three months after this job evaluation (12/7/89) I was demoted without cause (in March 1990):