The verdict is out, but let’s first recap our steps.
In August Dr. Jean McNeil demanded that her people get the correct pay. Dr. Jean McNeil informed Mr. David Rice that he has forced her to go over his head to get her people paid correctly. While she is thinking of a good way to get resolution, Employee #1 violates a policy to which Dr. Jean McNeil received a call from HR reprimanding her for her line staff contacting HR for a merit increase which is forbidden. So she had to perform her responsibility and investigate the situation and correct the individual. In doing so, Employee #1 filed a complaint for Harassment to Mr. Rice, and Mr. Rice sent Employee #1 to HR and had it reported to the state, all of which is out of proper protocol. Mr. Rice saw Employee #1 as an ally to attack Dr. McNeil. However, Employee #1’s personnel file is cluttered with numerous corrections over the past 20 years, even physically attacking a fellow employee in 2006, causing the new employee to quit her job the next day. So Mr. Rice didn’t have much to work with.
Before Mr. Rice closed this attempt, Employee #2 was going through some attitude issues at work. And it just so happens that during this time, she was having trouble concentrating on her duties. Her responsibility requires her to sit at a front desk meeting the public. This requires certain things like, not eating cookies at the front desk or drinking soda pop, or having long casual conversations with people around you or texting. So over this brief season where she was having trouble concentrating, it required multiple small corrections in all of these areas. It came to a head. She bowed up, got into her direct supervisor’s space, and started screaming at her supervisor in a very indignant manner. Her supervisor defused the situation and later that day, the supervisor reported to Dr. McNeil, the manager, with said employee all together. And before it ended said employee bowed up again, this time at her supervisor and at her manager. And nothing could defuse the situation except physically removing her from the office. Hence, violence in the workplace.
Just so happens, while at a rabies clinic at UNCW, on September 17, 2011, Employee #2 came out to the campus to participate in the clinic, but was not working. While there, several people witnessed Employee #2 get into a violent domestic physical altercation with her teenage daughter, throwing her to the asphalt several times. I watched this altercation for about thirty minutes, but did not get involved. A lady passerby stopped, took out her cell phone, and called the campus police. Within minutes, four campus police were on site. They did not see what had taken place, but they spent the next forty-five minutes kneeling down on the ground, talking to and comforting the daughter. As I drove by I could see red marks and tears and crying on the teenage girl. She was very distraught. Hence, my back ground knowledge of the violent potential of Employee #2.
About a week after all of this, Employee #2 was still having trouble concentrating on her duties, talking, eating, and drinking at her duty station. Her supervisor caught her again involved in these things. Her supervisor said well maybe you can do something other than being bored at your duty station. How about looking around to do something else, to take a break, as long as it is productive work? Animal Control Services is responsible for cleaning their own facility, up to this point, so it made sense for her to make herself useful. She was told to go and clean the shower, which she had been using more than anyone else that past week, because her plumbing is out at home. Employee #2 did clean the shower, and she did a very good job. But Mr. Rice caught wind of this. He was very upset. And since his complaint with Employee #1 was going nowhere, he called HR and instructed them to include Employee #2’s cleaning the shower as harassment and added it to their investigation for Employee #1.
Mr. Rice feels like he’s got his ace, but what he doesn’t know at this point, is that all the staff cleans the shower, including Dr. McNeil, because Property Management doesn’t know about it, and has never done it. Always keep in your mind, as you go through these steps that Mr. Rice needs to fire Dr. McNeil. He is desperate, because if it is proven that he has deliberately withheld any kind of pay, it is a criminal offense. What’s really happening, for the first time, is that Mr. Rice’s leadership style has been opened up for all to see. Mr. Rice does the most astounding thing I’ve ever heard: he gives a directive to a manager of a department not to do supervision of a line personnel, meaning Employee #2 herself.
What has actually just taken place, is that Mr. Rice recruited Employee #2 to be a mole at Animal Control Services and promised her protection. For the next two and one half months, Employee #2 made daily reports to Mr. Rice on every detail of every day. So, December 9 comes along, the deadline for all the investigations that Mr. Rice has brought against Dr. McNeil, a mandatory closure, and they have produced nothing. But he does not report this to Dr. McNeil. From where I stand, it looks like Mr. Rice is still trying to railroad Dr. McNeil, trying to gather information through his mole.
As I witnessed Dr. McNeil do everything she knows to do to bring truth and resolution, Mr. Rice continued his ultimate quest to destroy her. She defended herself aggressively, because Mr. Rice was using the system abusively. And since he is the final say, she turned to the media and went public despite the embarrassment it brings to her 21 year career. Dr. McNeil will be fired on the grounds of insubordination, which really are the actions of defending herself publically. None of the charges and investigations that Mr. Rice initiated produced a single shred of evidence to support his cause. Mr. Rice and his narcissist personality, which cannot accept being wrong, which cannot accept defeat, which cannot accept anything other than absolute control, has paved the way to the simplest wrongful termination I have ever experienced. I would expect more from a man holding a master’s degree. Dr. McNeil is a person of great value, of great virtue, of great innocence. She is a person who will not rock the boat. She is a team player, but everyone has their limit. New Hanover County will never be as rich without her presence. Shame on Mr. Rice.
Mr. Rice, it is my prayer that you receive what you have sown, thirty times over, and, from your knees, you find and discover the Truth and be redeemed, in Jesus’ Name.
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