New whistleblower seeks protections under city statute

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A new whistleblower has stepped forward.  The employee is a current staff member at West Hollywood CIty Hall.  WEHOonline has identified their name and position.    We agreed not to publish their name on these pages but they have been identified to the City Attorney Lauren Langer.   An advance copy of the whistleblower claims was shared with both City Attorney Lauren Langer and the City Manager David Wilson on Monday, June 17th at 8.07 am with an understanding that we would be publishing these claims in their entirety the following day.

West Hollywood City Hall Disability Discrimination
A dedicated employee since 2018, I now face a disturbing reality at West Hollywood City Hall. A medical injury left me with permanent limitations. Following a necessary leave of absence, I returned eager to resume my duties. However, the past year has revealed a pattern of retaliation and a potential breakdown in the very systems I once championed.
Before my limitations arose, my commitment to accessibility was unwavering. I managed the city’s transit contracts, including the crucial paratransit service for people with disabilities. I even served as a valuable staff liaison to the Disabilities Advisory Board. The irony is not lost on me: now, I battle alleged disability discrimination within the very halls where I served the city’s most vulnerable.
 
Targeted After Reporting Disability Discrimination
Weeks after returning from my leave and reporting incidents of disability discrimination, I was met with a concerning response from Human Resources. The Administrative Director moved me from a supportive environment where I managed contracts, to a completely empty division.
 
Increased Workload, Reduced Support
This seemingly innocuous transfer came with a significant increase in workload. My previous role managing contracts was unexpectedly doubled.  Despite my new responsibilities and isolation within this empty department, I was inexplicably left without the support staff I previously relied upon.
Despite my strong work ethic, my efforts to manage contracts and projects remotely were met with resistance. Initially approved disability accommodations were inexplicably challenged. My workload skyrocketed to include contracts for two positions, with support staff suspiciously reduced after I requested disability accommodations.
Week after week, the Economic Development Director made comments suggesting the city wouldn’t continue to accommodate my limitations. These remarks created a hostile work environment and directly contradicted established protocols. Further undermining my well-being, the Director dismissively referred to federal disability rights protections, implying a disregard for my needs. This treatment left me feeling powerless, yet determined to excel despite the challenges.
The alleged disability discrimination goes beyond workload. I was denied High Administrative Leave, a benefit for after-hours work, based on demonstrably false information provided by a previous supervisor. This denial stands in stark contrast to my counterpart, who continuously received the same benefit. To add insult to injury, I was also denied Vacancy Pay, a benefit my colleague received during my own disability leave.
 
Human Resources, tasked with protecting employee rights, has been conspicuously absent in my fight for fair treatment. Their inaction, or worse, possible complicity in perpetuating these discriminatory practices, raises serious concerns about their effectiveness in safeguarding employees with disabilities. These concerns echo recent whistleblower reports of favoritism and a lack of transparency within City Hall.
 
Perhaps most troubling is my experience with the City Manager. After bravely bringing my concerns of disability discrimination by Human Resources to their attention, I was directed back to the very department allegedly mistreating me – three times. This unwillingness to investigate my claims of disability discrimination casts a long shadow on the City’s commitment to fostering an inclusive work environment.
 
A Veiled Attempt to Silence?
Adding further strain to the situation, the Human Resources Manager recently insisted on an urgent meeting on June 20th, despite my request to postpone until July. The arrival of new union officers in July could provide much-needed representation during this critical juncture. The timing of this meeting compels me to believe it’s a veiled attempt to terminate my employment due to my disability before I have proper representation.
 
Exercising My Rights
By speaking out, I am exercising my rights as a disabled person and a whistleblower. I refuse to be silenced in the face of injustice. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guarantees me the right to equal opportunity in employment. Federal whistleblower protections safeguard those who report wrongdoing. This fight is not just about me; it’s about ensuring a workplace where everyone feels respected and empowered to advocate for themselves.
 
This is Part One of Four
The next installment will outline recommendations to increase transparency and accountability within West Hollywood City Hall. These recommendations include making the City Manager’s upcoming private review public and implementing a new way for residents to provide direct feedback – a citizen feedback app or website called Rate Your City Management.
The third installment will delve into details about questionable hiring practices of directors and management within West Hollywood City Hall.
The final piece will introduce a new community effort: the Disabilities Advocacy Neighbor Group (DANG). WeHo DANG aims to foster a more inclusive city by bringing together city staff, city officials, residents, and all people who work, play, and operate businesses in West Hollywood.
More details to come but be certain; if you are out there, tossed aside, isolated, feeling invisible and being mistreated due to your disability, you have support here.
 
Important Resources
 * Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): https://www.eeoc.gov/
 * Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC): [https://www.drtc.org/resources/](https://
 
Maybe West Hollywood City Hall can take a page out of Mr. Rogers’ playbook.  Seems their current approach to inclusion needs a little more ‘neighborly love’ – and maybe a cardigan.  
Won’t you be my neighbor?

 

 

 

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[…] three in a series by Leo Bear Mahan, a City Hall whistleblower. Read parts one and two here.  ICMA stands for International CIty/County Management […]

Bravo
Bravo
24 days ago

Bravo! It only takes one person to stand their ground and fight. The whistleblowers are uniting and I’m here for it. Fire Wilson, Rivas, and Mrs. Jimenez. (Did you know they are part of the ICMA, where the code of ethics was created?) File a complaint and revoke their membership!

weho is a mess
weho is a mess
25 days ago

Another overpaid fake whistleblower. No wonder we can’t get anything done in this city.

Also, anybody else notice the deranged writing style? “mr. rogers playbook”.. really??

You Know Who
You Know Who
24 days ago
Reply to  weho is a mess

You’re either an executive at the city or a lobbyist benefiting from the corruption at city hall. Which is it?

pat
pat
23 days ago
Reply to  weho is a mess

what are you cokplaining about. there is nothing deranged about the writing style; maybe you have a problem following that.

WHCH
WHCH
25 days ago

A tale of two cities. The one they project and the one we live in. The one we live in is harsh, cold and mean.

Save our City
Save our City
25 days ago

Who follows up to protect the city staff? The Council knuckle heads laud praise on the staff but when the staff comes forward they get shafted.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
25 days ago
Reply to  Save our City

Supposedly their union; but then again, when John Erickson was working at City Hall, he served a term as Union president. It just seems like the union leadership is too tied to the Council to effectively protect its’ members.

Addie
Addie
24 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Bobby S. is the union president for AFCSME (WEHOME), and I feel sorry for those that are represented by him. He sent an email to all staff stating that the first whistleblower was giving a “false narrative.” This led me to believe that the claims were false until I found out that he sent a separate email to the first whistleblower apologizing for not responding. He lied to us all and should be reprimanded. Had I not seen the email myself I would have continued to believe his narrative.

Proud Employee
Proud Employee
23 days ago
Reply to  Addie

I saw this “apology” letter as well, and your assessment is disingenuous. It was clearly intended to de-escalate the situation without appearing to assign blame. The reality was the individual had made a request that was outside of the union’s legal authority and then proceeded to give the board (all unpaid volunteers with full-time jobs) only five business days to do their due diligence before escalating to what the public saw (the time stamps on the email chain the individual sent to everyone in the organization corroborated it). The leadership we have is not perfect, and I have personally called… Read more »

Sure, Bobby S
Sure, Bobby S
20 days ago
Reply to  Proud Employee

There is no excuse for any Union President to badmouth a member. Union owes a duty of fair representation without bias and in good faith. Did you attend the union meeting after the emails were sent? If you did you would remember that Bobby issued an apology and acknowledged he had not responded to the whistleblower because he was checking with the union attorney. No one is asking for perfect leadership. Everyone is asking for respect and equal treatment which has now been echoed by three whistleblowers (in less than a year). This is all under Bobby as their union… Read more »

Proud Employee
Proud Employee
19 days ago
Reply to  Sure, Bobby S

Are you insinuating that I’m Bobby? You clearly have no faith in him, but I think he’d have enough self-respect to post as himself if he were defending his actions and statements. There is no excuse for any Union President to badmouth a member. Union owes a duty of fair representation without bias and in good faith. Did you attend the union meeting after the emails were sent? If you did you would remember that Bobby issued an apology and acknowledged he had not responded to the whistleblower because he was checking with the union attorney. I did attend the… Read more »

Defamations
Defamations
19 days ago
Reply to  Proud Employee

Why does it sound like you have intimate knowledge of behind scenes union stuff like all the identities of staff with ongoing things and timelines when the president had information? The writer said they are disabled and having issues with management. Said no thing about any issues with the union. Maybe they are getting assistance from the union. You assume they aren’t or seem to have inside information. There was no meeting like the one you describe that occurred or statements made saying those things. If you say such things say the date and back it up. I am in… Read more »

Proud Employee
Proud Employee
19 days ago
Reply to  Defamations

Why does it sound like you have intimate knowledge of behind scenes union stuff like all the identities of staff with ongoing things and timelines when the president had information? Outside of the “apology” email, which you saw as well, I have not had access to any “insider” knowledge. Everything I stated was pieced together from the emails that these individuals sent to the entire organization, including Council. Each one contained a chain of emails that outlined exactly what took place and when. The writer said they are disabled and having issues with management. Said no thing about any issues… Read more »

Calm Down
Calm Down
18 days ago
Reply to  Proud Employee

You’re claiming to not have personal knowledge and yet you write as if you were personally attacked. We can all agree that the union owes members good faith representation. We can all agree that we don’t know the entire story. Whatever the case is I stand for equal opportunity, respect and understanding. Is there favoritism at city hall? 100% and it must be stopped. Like you said we are public servants and the city cannot run the city like a private entity. Transparency is a must.

Proud Employee
Proud Employee
18 days ago
Reply to  Calm Down

You’re claiming to not have personal knowledge and yet you write as if you were personally attacked. I have known the individual you besmirched for quite a few years, and your representation of them and their actions (in a public outlet, no less) was not reflective of reality. Knowing them, I doubt they would enter into a public debate without about the matter, but someone had to speak up. The “anger” you are seeing is the fact that you are feeding the narrative that certain political entities are trying to push without taking the time to research and understand the… Read more »

Blind
Blind
18 days ago
Reply to  Proud Employee

Your anger blinds you. Get some anger management or something. Seek help. A comment by some person you don’t even know is driving you to madness. Whoever wrote that you’re Bobby may have been right.

Nope
Nope
18 days ago
Reply to  Proud Employee

Uh, Yeah, Proud Emp, there were like dozens of members in that meeting. No person said that statement you claim against your fellow employee. Nope

John
John
18 days ago
Reply to  Nope

I don’t recall that comment being made either. Unhinged.

Proud Employee
Proud Employee
18 days ago
Reply to  Nope

There were more than dozens on the call. It was well over 100 people and I was avoiding discussing this on a forum, but his comment was within the context of pushing for a strike. I know it was a very emotionally charged day and meeting, but the individual’s comments were so out of line that they’re etched into my memory. I’ve been with the City for nearly 20 years and I’ve never heard anything like it. What they were advocating was frankly insane and it’s frightening to see what appears to be multiple people (I don’t really know. You… Read more »

Unhinged
Unhinged
11 days ago
Reply to  Proud Employee

‘ I know it was a very emotionally charged day and meeting, but the individual’s comments were so out of line that they’re etched into my memory’. How is pushing for a strike an out of line comment?
You asked that someone dig a little deeper and they did only to confirm what the whistleblower’s have said is true. Corruption and nepotism are alive and well at the City of West Hollywood. Even welcomed and encouraged.

Civil Rights
Civil Rights
18 days ago
Reply to  Proud Employee

Do you know how many members have the same story? Not just at city hall. HR is not letting anyone come back from disability leave until they are released back to work at 100 percent. Being a city employee for many decades you should know that is not ok and a violation of the ADA. For a city that prides itself in civil rights movement they should lead by example instead of making these individuals feel useless and unwanted just for needing reasonable accommodations. Directors have the final word and HR is going along with it. It seems HR found… Read more »

Fact
Fact
18 days ago
Reply to  Civil Rights

I heard the same thing. Sadly management will only understand when they are the ones requesting accommodations. Good luck to us all and I hope we never walk in members shoes. Car accidents, cancer, MS, how can we rest easy knowing that if we get sick or need accommodations the city rather fire you. This is scary.

Lie
Lie
7 days ago
Reply to  Proud Employee

Interesting to know you “saw” the “letter” since it was not published. This means you either asked to see it from the whistleblower or Union President. It’s obvious you did not ask the whistleblower because you would understand and realize just how much they’ve been through and know that help was requested in 2020 (not 5 days). This can only mean you saw it from Bobby which would mean he betrayed the trust he swore when becoming Union President. I can say I saw the EMAIL not letter from Bobby to whistleblower and numerous other things I asked to see.… Read more »

Fed Up
Fed Up
25 days ago

The employees at city have more faith in this publication than their supervisors. But the city council will not do a thing to protect the workers at city hall.

United
United
24 days ago
Reply to  Fed Up

Consequences to the incompetence of David Wilson and his appointed people is being seen by everyone now, not just city employees. What do you do when your supervisor, manager, director, HR, and the city turn their back to you? You seek help outside. Someone will listen and the house or cards will collapse. Hoping this is happening now.

Weho Resident
Weho Resident
25 days ago

A heap of thanks to weho online for being a trusted community resource.

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