Friday, November 11, 2011

Complaint Against Sheppard Pratt

October 29, 1993
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
#136
Washington, DC  20008

Keith Keemer
Dept. of Consumer and Regulatory
   Affairs
Occupational & Professional Licensing Admin.
605 G Street, NW
Washington, DC  20001

Dear Mr. Keemer:

On October 29, 1991 my employment was terminated by the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld [tel. no. (202) 887-4000], where I had been employed as a legal assistant (paralegal).

In an opinion issued September 24, 1993 the District of Columbia Department of Human Rights stated its determination that the termination was based on a legitimate business reason, namely, that an investigation by  the employer disclosed that I suffered from serious emotional or psychological difficulties that rendered me not suitable for employment and potentially violent.

My employer’s determination that I suffered from serious psychological difficulties was based in part, so Akin Gump claims, on a consultation that an Akin Gump manager had with a counselor employed by my former employer’s employee assistance program provider, Sheppard Pratt Preferred Resources.  During the period of my employment at Akin Gump I consulted on three occasions with counselors at Sheppard Pratt which retains a file of confidential mental health information concerning my case

In a written statement addressed to me dated July 14, 1993, Ms. Suzanne Reynolds, Sheppard Pratt Washington Operations Director, denies that Sheppard Pratt consulted with Akin Gump managers prior to my termination.

Notwithstanding Ms. Reynolds’ written denial, a copy of which I had forwarded to the D.C. Department of Human Rights (DOHR), DOHR determined that Sheppard Pratt did in fact consult with an Akin Gump manager prior to my termination.

On October 22, 1993 I filed an appeal of DOHR’s determination with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Appeal No. 93-AA-1342.  I have advised Sheppard Pratt that it is important that it file a motion to intervene in this proceedings, per D.C. Court of Appeals Rule 15(f), in order to formally disavow the DOHR’s determination. A motion to intervene must be filed, if at all, within 30 days of October 22, 1993.  Sheppard Pratt's failure to intervene in the proceedings to formally deny the determination of the DOHR could result in harm to Sheppard Pratt’s public reputation since DOHR’s finding calls into question that institution’s promise of confidentiality to its client’s employees.

Further, the finding of DOHR that my former employer consulted with a Sheppard Pratt counselor raises the possibility of a violation by Sheppard Pratt of the District of Columbia Mental Health Information Act and the confidentiality provisions of the District of Columbia Health Occupations Revision Act.  Any disclosure of confidential mental health information to Akin Gump by a mental health counselor employed by the Sheppard Pratt Employee Assistance Program would violate the D.C. Mental Health Information Act, D.C. Code section 6-2002 (Disclosures prohibited; exceptions), and would subject the offending mental health counselor and Sheppard Pratt to criminal sanctions for the commission of a misdemeanor.

Additionally, Akin Gump’s actions in seeking a representation from a mental health counselor at Sheppard Pratt raise the possibility of a violation by Akin Gump’s attorney managers of D.C. Code section 6-2062 (Criminal penalties for violation of the D.C. Mental Health Information Act) as well as certain criminal statutes including D.C Code section 22-105a (Conspiracy to commit crime) and D.C. Code Section 22-105 (Persons advising, inciting or conniving at criminal offense to be charged as principals).

Gertrude R. Ticho, M.D., the psychiatrist with whom Akin Gump claims to have consulted prior to my termination denies in a letter written to me dated July 14, 1993 having communicated with Akin Gump.  Notwithstanding Dr  Ticho’s written denial, a copy of which I had forwarded to DOHR, DOHR also found that Akin Gump consulted with Dr. Ticho prior to the termination.  (I have never seen Dr. Ticho for a psychiatric evaluation).

Enclosed for your information are copies of the following documents:

(a)  DOHR determination dated June 30, 1993 stating that Sheppard Pratt consulted with an Akin Gump manager immediately prior to my termination (see page 7, paragraph 6)

(b)  Suzanne Reynolds’ letter dated July 14, 1993 denying having any contacts with Akin Gump managers

(c)  DOHR determination on reconsideration, dated September 24, 1993, affirming prior finding that Sheppard Pratt consulted with an Akin Gump manager

(d)  my petition for review filed with the D.C. Court of Appeals on October 22, 1993, Appeal No. 93-AA-1342

Sincerely,

Gary Freedman

1 comment:

Gary Freedman said...

Sheppard Pratt Preferred Resources, Inc.

July 14, 1993

Gary Freedman
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
#136
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.

Sincerely,

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

SR/ab

record on appeal at 63-64