Tell the H.E.L.P Senate Committee to Make Federal Employment Equal and Safe For People With Autism/ Mental Disabilities
Former FDA Consumer Safety Officer, Stacey A. Meyer is seeking a petition of a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States due April 21st, 2015. She is also seeking to unite special interest groups as amicus curiae to file a brief in support of this case. Her prayer and plight is to bring change to “how” and “who”, neutral third party, handles the requests for reasonable accommodations for individuals with invisible or barely visible mental or developmental disabilities. Often times, the employee with a developmental or mental disability cannot advocate for themselves or even know “what” types of accommodations the employer could make for them. The very essence of their disability impedes them from requesting or speaking up for themselves. Additionally, if the decision making process is left to an employee’s first, second or third level supervisor, a conflict of interest or negative biases will ultimately impact “how”, “if” and “what” the employer will provide for the qualified disabled employee seeking relief. Now, the employee is left exposed, vulnerable and if not valued subjected to resentful and/or discriminatory treatment. Everyone knows someone who has autism either through direct interaction or indirectly. It affects all of us and unless we stand united together injustices will continue to be committed against individuals with autism whether they are children at home, in school or adults in pursuit of the American dream, gainful employment and independent living. Stacey was a proud public servant for the United States Government for 17 years. She was terminated “because of” the mental disabilities she suffers from on July 15, 2011. The last position she held was with the Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration as a Consumer Safety Officer regulating the imported commodities, primarily foods, which enter into our domestic commerce. She was a loyal, trustworthy, dedicated and hard-working individual despite her mental disabilities (panic attacks, major depression, social anxiety, avoidant personality disorder, dependant personality disorder and sensory processing disorders). It is more than likely, because of these traits and symptoms, that she falls under the autistic spectrum disorders. The disabilities listed are co-morbidities of the autism. She is a 46 year old woman and often, especially women, do not find out until much later in life. She has been in litigation for 3 ½ years and this process has intensified her health issues and put her in financial ruin. She has lost everything through all of the litigation expenses. She never had her day in court with the administrative judge in the Merit Systems Protection Board, because her trial attorneys led her to believe that the Administrative Judge was going to rule against her and for the defendant the Department of Health and Human Services. Under their guidance, she withdrew from the MSPB process and filed a civil employment lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida in early July of 2012. Her day in court was slated for the first two weeks of December 2013. On November 15, 2013 the defendant moved for Summary Judgment on all four counts and the District Judge Cecilia Altonaga dismissed all 4 counts and closed the case. The four counts: Count I – Discrimination based on disability for Meyer’s termination in violation of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. sections 701-791b; Count II Discrimination based on disability for the FDA’s failure to accommodate Meyer’s disability in violation of the Rehabilitation Act; Count III – Retaliatory termination against Meyer for engaging in a protected activity in violation of the Rehabilitation Act; and Count IV – Discrimination based on gender in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1064, 42 U.S.C. section 2000e-2(a) (“Title VII”) Case No. 12-22666-CIV-ALTONAGA/Simonton. HHS admitted that she is a “qualified individual with a disability” under the Rehabilitation Act. The only hurdle that she appears to be facing in the court of law is that the DHHS terminated her under the “guise” that she broke a policy, misuse of a Government Owned Vehicle GOV and misrepresentation of her time and attendance by performing “fieldwork” in the field. She worked from within the GOV to escape the inadequate cubicle, high foot traffic and its location to supervisor William Keck. The court is hinging on the fact that she was not terminated “solely, because of” her disabilities. She revealed her mental disabilities to her first and second line supervisors, respectively, William Keck and Florida Director of Imports Branch, Facundo Bernal. She requested a minimal reasonable accommodations through the EEOC process a flexible any 80 hour schedule. In September 2010, Bernal called a meeting to create the facade that he was willingly engaging in the interactive process that the American with Disabilities and the Rehabilitation Act envisions. This process is a give and take between employee and employer is to determine the exact limitations and to consider what types of accommodations might help the otherwise qualified individual effectively perform the job. This process is also ongoing not a one stop deal. The needs of the individual may change through time or circumstances. Bernal used this meeting as a platform , as a pretext, not to discuss her needs for accommodations, but instead ridiculed and mocked her limitations surrounding her conditions: 1) interacting with others 2) concentration and 3) inability to learn new things. Bernal called her a “liability” during the meeting and flat out stated he did not think she was qualified for the position. Bernal questioned her abilities to do fieldwork, drive a GOV and interact with the officials at the firms FDA regulates. Stacey experienced a panic attack and became overwhelmed when Bernal called her a “liability” and publicly humiliated her in front of the other five individuals involved in the meeting. This disrespect of Stacey as a human being and as a contributing employee to the department caused irrevocable damage to her. Stacey’s behavior, “avoidant” followed after this contemptuous treatment. Even though Bernal did not think she could do the fieldwork, he chose to leave her in that very environment to fester her conditions. Union representatives brought up various accommodations during the meeting, including inner office duties (i.e. entry review and filer evaluations). Those duties are within the position of her former position and there are individuals that are not disabled performing those duties exclusively. Rotation into the inner office duties would have allowed Stacey to decompress from the continual flux of sensory and social engagement countered performing fieldwork. EEOC strongly advised Bernal to grant the any 80 hour schedule and offer FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) as an additional accommodation. Basically, because of the EEOC laws, Bernal reluctantly granted the any 80 hour schedule, but never mentioned to Stacey about invoking her FMLA right. Only 3 weeks later, Bernal unilaterally changed the accommodation, to a First 40 schedule, without consultation with the EEOC. He notified her of the change without union representation and did not engage in a discussion for alternative accommodations. This schedule conceptually looked similar to the 80 hour, but was quite different and was difficult in application. Stacey volunteered every other weekend to perform entry review, remotely, and counted on those hours for the 80 hour pay period. After this change to her schedule Stacey “shutdown”. In November 2010 Stacey’s reasonable accommodation needs changed when the import personnel relocated to a larger building. Stacey’s cubicle in the previous office was a secluded partitioned cubicle. The new cubicle was an open space just outside Keck’s office. Because of the new exposed cubicle, her conditions became exacerbated with sensory overload and a change of routine, important for autistics, and the proximity to Keck’s office. This cubicle became a contaminated area for her. Stacey began to experience panic attacks while sitting there and within eyesight of Keck. Stacey’s previous involvement, with Keck, incited emotions that triggered these panic attacks and extreme anxiety. As a new accommodation, she asked Keck for a different cubicle reassignment and was denied and mocked. Stacey was trying to stay gainfully employed at the same time she was being mistreated and dealing with all the triggers causing her health to deteriorate. This cubicle affected her concentration and anxiety levels. Stacey began to avoid this space at all costs. Keck, on many occasions mocked her limitations regarding her disabilities by exclaiming “What’s a matter can’t you concentrate at this desk?” Keck also made reference to one of her limitations, social communication, by making inflammatory comments “If you shake your ass I know you won’t have any problems while out in the field”. Instead of reporting these inflammatory comments to the EEOC or third or fourth level supervisors, she mistakenly, because of her conditions, stayed silent. Staying silent for too long ultimately caused her termination. After visiting the importing firms Stacey would continue the “fieldwork” at a small park one block across from the office to perform administrative duties, which is not uncommon, within the “safe” space of the GOV or on the park bench. She used the GOV as a satellite office. She also combined her lunch and two – 15 minute breaks while at the park. The flexible schedule was requested and granted, although modified, for exactly this reason to flex her schedule when needed. Stacey chose to avoid the cubicle triggering her panic attacks and work from the field. She also utilized the hour break to walk decompressing from the sensory overload and prepare to return to the contaminated cubicle. Her first and second line supervisors believed she was taking too long out in the field, so allegedly Keck did surveillance for 4 days while she performed fieldwork. Instead of questioning her or asking if her disabilities were causing difficulties while driving or performing the fieldwork, they contacted her third line supervisor, Emma Singleton who allegedly contacted the Office of Internal Affairs (OIA) to conduct an investigation. These managers, Facundo I. Bernal and William M. Keck were so derelict of their duties as the Florida’s Director of Import Operations Branch and as a Supervisory Consumer Safety Officer making over $100,000 each annually neither offered to discuss what was causing Stacey’s delay doing the fieldwork. From the reasonable accommodation meeting held only 1 ½ months earlier both officers gleaned that Stacey was a qualified individual with a disability and struggled with the limitations of 1) social communication 2) concentration and 3) ability to learn new things but neither cared enough to try to engage Stacey when they both noticed a difference in her behavior after moving to the new office. This clearly demonstrates their disregard and animosity for Stacey’s limitations and as an employee in general. Their number one action should have been for her welfare and safety under their purview. This gave them the ability to remove Stacey from her federal career under the pretext that she violated a policy. The investigation through a GPS, of course, confirmed that she was going to the park across the street. Stacey was fired under the pretext that she misused a GOV and that she did not perform work while at this park. Stacey timely appealed, Case No. 13-15685-BB, to the 11th Circuit, on December 13th, 2013. On November 17, 2014 the 11th Circuit Judges: Chief Judge Ed Carnes, Gerald Tjoflat and Adalberto Jordan per curiam AFFIRMED the lower court’s ruling as a matter of law stating that there were no material facts in dispute for a trial jury to decide. Stacey’s trial attorneys and appeal attorney have raised several significant material facts of dispute that collectively; together create a mosaic of circumstantial evidence. These facts should be left to a jury of her peers to decide if there was intentional retaliation and/or discrimination for seeking a reasonable accommodation for her disabilities. The case has many, many more tiles, components to it, that taken together demonstrate intentional discriminatory and retaliatory actions from her first line supervisor, William M. Keck and her second line supervisor, Facundo I. Bernal. Quite prudent to this case is a glaring conflict of interest that has been disregarded and over-looked intentionally. Count IV, gender discrimination, was not appealed to the 11th circuit and is therefore not considered. However, if a jury heard her case in its entirety; the perjuries committed by Keck, about any former relationship, sexually, with Stacey would illustrate his lack of candor. Also the perjuries from the Director, Bernal that he never called Stacey a “liability” and even openly admitted that it was wrong when he unilaterally changed her accommodation, justice could be served. WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP: Please write, call, email and tweet the following individuals to change the outcome of my case and life. President Barack Obama, DHHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D) - FL, Florida District Director Susan Turcovski and the United States Attorney for Appellee Wilfredo A. Ferrer. If you decide to tweet, justice4stacey.com, please include the hashtag #justice4stacey #accountability #williamkeck and #facundobernal. The message is simple: Stacey deserves justice and her right to a jury trial. You can reach the President Barack Obama at: The White House Attention: President Barack Obama 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Phone (202)456-1111 Twitter: @BarackObama@WhiteHouse Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barackobama You can reach U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D) - FL at: Office of Senator Bill Nelson 225 East Robinson Street, Suite 410 Orlando, Florida 32801 Phone: (407) 872-7161 Twitter: https://twitter.com/SenBillNelson Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/billnelson E-mail: http://www.billnelson.senate.gov/contact-bill You can reach my congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz at: Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Congresswoman D. Wasserman-Schultz 118 Cannon H.O.B. 10100 Pines Blvd Washington, DC 20515 Pembroke Pines, FL 33026 Phone: (202)225-7931 Phone: (954)437-3936 Twitter: @DWStweets Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RepDebbieWassermanSchultz You can reach the DHHS Secretary, Sylvia Mathews Burwell at: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Attention: Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell 200 Independence Ave. SW Washington DC 20201 Phone: 1-877-696-6775 E-mail: Sylvia.Burwell@fda.hhs.gov Twitter: @SecBurwell You can reach the FDA Commissioner, Margaret A. Hamburg at: Food and Drug Administration Attention: Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg 10903 New Hampshire Avenue WO1 RM2219 HF-01 Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002 E-mail: Mhamburg1@fda.hhs.gov Phone (301)796-5000 You can reach the FDA Regional Director, Anne Reid at: Food and Drug Administration Attention: Regional Director Anne Reid 60 Eighth Street DO-ATL Annex1 RM214 HFR-SE1 Atlanta, GA 30309 E-mail: Anne.email@example.com Phone: 404-253-1171 You can reach the Florida District Director, Susan M. Turcovski at Food and Drug Administration 555 Winderley Place 2nd Floor, Suite 200 Maitland, FL 32751 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (407)475-4702 You can reach U.S. Attorney Wilfredo A. Ferrer at: US Attorneys Office Southern District Office 99 NE 4th St Miami, FL 33132-2131 United States Phone: (305)961-9001 Fax: (305)530-6444 Email: email@example.com Thank-you everyone for your help and support! Without you I won't make a difference. Stacey Meyer twitter @samfashion43
Strengthen AmeriCorps: Invest in our Future
In this time of economic challenge, it is important that we look at ways to relieve pressure on the struggling job market. One way to accomplish this is to delay young job seekers from entering the stressed market in a manner that is mutually beneficial to both the young worker and society. One proven program that does just that is AmeriCorps. The AmeriCorps program provides a way for people to serve their communities and their country. It makes sense that we significantly expand upon this successful program so that it rises to the challenges of our time. By increasing funding for AmeriCorps, the program could be expanded to provide more job opportunities for people, as well as to provide a good path to finance a four-year college education. Such an expansion would provide multiple benefits: (1) It would provide young people with meaningful, rewarding work and work experience. (2) It would help to relieve pressure on the job market. (3) It would provide a legitimate method to pay for college which doesn't involve military service. (4) It would provide a vehicle for applying real people power to help address some of the problems we face in our communities today. We ask that our elected officials significantly expand the AmeriCorps program so that it can both offer more job opportunities as well as provide college financing that rivals that of our armed forces. Invest in our future - strengthen AmeriCorps.
Save Taxpayers Money
Kasey Willard, is incarcerated at SCP Dublin, a Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)no-security camp, on a horrendous mandatory minimum sentence (14 years) for intent to distribute (solely on the word of a confidential informant) methamphetamine. Kasey admittedly had a meth addiction which caused her teeth to rot. It's obviously too late for her to have thought of that before she used bathtub crank as the BOP now scolds her--the road has already been taken. The BOP "dentist" has created a "temporary filling" across all of her front teeth. He refuses to do any more for her than simply pull all of her teeth and then leave her toothless for the next 5-6 years because the BOP practice is to not fit female inmates with dentures until the final 3-6 months of their sentence. The only alternative the BOP offers is to pull all of her teeth and leave her toothless for the next ten years while her face caves in from lack of maxillofacial/dental support structures. She is a beautiful woman and is very sensitive to the stigma and self-image problems that 'solution' would cause. Countless other female inmates suffer needlessly the same toothlessness until their discharge from prison or leave with such ill-fitting dentures that cannot not be worn comfortably or safely. The 'dentist' called Kasey a "meth mouth" and told her that she should have thought of the consequenses of drug use before she ruined her teeth. As a result of this and other verbal abuse she is afraid of the 'dentist' and refused any further "treatment" by him. She left his office in tears then filed the required series of go-nowhere formal grievances in which the BOP lied and obfuscated their collective responsibility. Kasey filed a formal tort claim which was then "investigated" by a BOP-employed Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Officer Sharon Tiernan-Lang PA (with an expired California PA license) and a for-profit on-line "PA credential" Tiernan-Lang did not look at Kasey's teeth but only weighed her and sent her on her way. The 'dentist' does not appear to possess a license to practice in any state, however, the BOP accepts 'credentialing' by approved sources including for-profit on-line or correspondence credentialing organizations. The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) is the primary source verification that BOP PS6027.01 requires for annual credentials/license verification is a secret society of all medical professionals licenses that patients and general public are denied access. Therefore, it is not possible to file a formal complaint against his medical license, if he has one, for malpractice or negligent indifference to a patient's suffering. By being denied to his licensing information and credentials, Kasey is unable to file a formal complaint against his license and have him investigated for medical neglegent indifference and malpractice. Kasey's parents have located a dentist who practices near SCP Dublin and they have arranged to pay 100% of the cost of full teeth extraction and dentures including all follow-up visits, allowable according to BOP policy for medical furloughs. The BOP refuses to allow this humane option which would save taxpayers thousands of dollars. In the meantime, Kasey suffers chronic pain from her deteriorated teeth, frequent gum infections, and significant weight fluctuations because she often is in too much pain to chew food. Long-term chronic health implications of chronic untreated dental disease include heart disease, stroke, bone loss, kidney disease and chronic inflammation in other body organs. Kasey is not asking for any luxury treatment of dental implants or cosmetic dental work, she is asking for what is considered by the ADA reasonable dental care by a licensed professional in accordance with her special needs under BOP policy PS6400.02. She is not even asking the taxpayers to foot the bill for her dental care, her family is willing to take that responsibility. When the federal government is straining under the onus of sequestration, it is unconscionable that the BOP would not be fiscally responsible and accept this reasonable solution. Kasey has been working off-site at the nearby Camp Parks Army Base, at the Golden Gate National Park in San Francisco and at other prison jobs. Her classification therefore is "community custody" and is eligible by BOP policy to furlough unescorted to medical, other treatment programs, education programs, work, etc. The BOP refuses to follow its own policies in denying this treatment. On November 6, 2013, Director Samuels appeared again before the Senate Judiciary Committee to request additional funding for the over-crowded BOP. Yet, Director Samuels has refused to be fiscally responsible and allow Kasey's parents' offer to pay for Kasey's necessary and appropriate dental care; and, refuses to investigate cruel and neglegent medical treatment by his staff dentist David Chi. The BOP mission statement: "We protect public safety by ensuring that federal offenders serve their sentences of imprisonment in facilities that are safe, humane, cost-efficient, and appropriately secure, and provide reentry programming to ensure their successful return to the community." Please do the humane thing and the fiscally responsible thing and allow Kasey to immediately furlough for necessry and humane medical care.