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New York VA workers might be affected by retaliation

Veterans Affairs Medical Centers provide a vital service to the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. However, at least one former employee claims that the VA center where she worked was rife with corruption. When she tried to report ongoing problems, she faced the same outcome that many New York whistleblowers deal with -- retaliation.

The woman first started working at the VA back in 2007 when she was hired as a secretary. Two years later she was promoted and began working as a lead program support assistant. It was in this position that she first noticed problems at the VA. She filed a report when she discovered two employees engaging in inappropriate behavior in a bathroom that a patient needed to use and almost immediately felt the aftermath, noting that she was treated differently afterward. The former employee claims that she faced other obstacles, including a sudden drop in her employee evaluation after she required a month of leave for medical reasons.

After transfers to different positions, she ended up working as a travel assistant in 2015. She claims that some top administrators improperly used their travel credit cards. Others allegedly completed their travel arrangements outside of the cards to avoid having their expenses tracked, making it impossible to ensure that only authorized expenses were reimbursed. Things apparently went downhill quickly when she was accused of falling asleep on the job, something she claims never happened.

A formal complaint led to legal action, and although she has since reached a settlement with the VA, she still says she never got her job back, which was what she wanted most. She is now closely following an ongoing investigation into the VA and its alleged unsavory business practices, the outcome of which could mean good news for victims of retaliation. New York workers can take similar actions when faced with retaliation from their current or former employers, and filing a suit can typically achieve just and necessary recourse.

Source: nrtoday.com, "VA employee alleges decade of whistle-blowing, retaliation", Carisa Cegavske, Nov. 30, 2017

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