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What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Employer, Now Former Employer Continues Attacking

by Jack
(Parma, OH)

I was hired at a non-profit in Pepper Pike, OH in 2008 as the IT Director. My very long road began when my employer directed me to implement file system security that made confidential patient information available to non-medical employees of the organization. When my superiors insisted that I act in manner not consistent with HIPAA and, in effect, directing me to break the law, I filed notice with the department of health. I was demoted, had my pay cut, was forced to work in a small closet and finally termination of my employment resulted and then legal actions were pursued. Shortly after the legal actions began, my now former employer began accusing me of hacking into their systems and performing various activities. My attorney in the civil case determined that it would be too expensive to continue because he would need to also defend me on the criminal side. Several months later the dissolution of the civil suits on both sides was negotiated. The settlement implied that each party would drop all actions against the other; however, I was unaware that attorneys for my former employer had filed a related criminal complaint against me, charging me with unauthorized use of property/computer system. Several months later, I found myself being indicted on 5 felony counts and had to hire a criminal attorney. You'll find that most criminal attorney's want anywhere from 10k-50k retainers. I was lucky enough to find one that only wanted $2500. The indictment has been some learning experience. After being indicted and a pretrial date set, I had to go downtown to the courthouse. Once at the court house you sit there for hours only to find out that they are postponing and setting the pretrial for another date or they offer you a plea bargain. These pretrial dates may be a week, two weeks, or a month later and sometimes you don't know until a couple days before and the court system expects you to stop your life and run down there. After going down to the court house for almost a year and turning down several plea offers, I agreed to plead to a misdemeanor offense of attempted access, not because I was guilty but for the following reasons:

1. The prosecution was not acknowledging the new evidence presented by the defense.
2. I could not afford the cost of a trial, which I was told would be well over $10,000 in legal fees
3. The sentence on the misdemeanor plea of attempted access would be limited to 6 months parole, fines around $200, and judgment could be expunged after 1 ½ years.
4. I felt it wasn't fair to my new employer to keep postponing major projects so I could spend time in court
5. I had received a call from my mother that morning informing me that her doctor thought she had cancer

After the plea had been entered and while waiting for sentencing I spent many hours going through the actual evidence that had been turned over to the Court by my attorney in my defense. This evidence showed that my former employer and attorney instructed Information Systems contractors from a third party to hack into my personal home systems on several occasions and that my former employer was destroying evidence that I could have used to prove I was innocent.

Returning for the actual sentencing which was a month later and finding out that my former employer was pulling invoices out of his closet and that the actual monetary award was going to be several thousand and that I would be paying my former employers attorney fees in the amount of $3,775, I wanted to let the judge know what was actually in the evidence and to withdraw the plea but was told not to say anything and that it was too late. During the sentencing the judge listed all kinds of reasons to appeal. I had my attorney file the appeal immediately after which cost another $2k. My attorney did not appeal everything like he was supposed to; he only appealed the amount my former employer was awarded for re-securing their desktops which was around $2,400 and the appeal was won. I never have gotten a response as to why he did not appeal everything. After winning the appeal the judge issued a resentencing date.

During the plea the Court determined that the dissolution agreement for the civil actions did not cover criminal activity so I went to my local Parma police station with the evidence to file a police report. The local police station turned me away for 2 weeks and I finally told them I was not leaving until I filed a report. After the report was filed it was sent to the Parma prosecutor who told me it was definitely a criminal offence but he wasn't sure how to write it up and I would have to find someone to help him. I called the county prosecutor's office several times and was told that this was not normal procedure and the prosecutor has a point of contact if he has questions. I related this info to the Parma prosecutor and his response was that there were over 145 prosecutors and he was not going to call. This back and forth went on for almost 8 months. I then went to the FBI and spoke with an agent. The FBI Agent then spoke with the Parma prosecutor and the FBI agent and I thought it was going to be sent down to the county. When I continued to get the run around I took the Parma prosecutors responses, which were in sms text to my phone and wrote a letter to the Parma law director, mayor and various other city officials. Within 3 or 4 days the Parma prosecutor had spoke with a county prosecutor and sent the information down. In the mean time, I also filed a report with the Ohio Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission and Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

I have sent many letters to the prosecutor that was contacted at the county level and the county prosecutor's office is well aware of these activities and so far has not even made an acknowledgement nor has contacted the FBI. The FBI is willing to help out in an investigation. All of the letters I have sent were mailed with either return signature or registered mail.

During this process of trying to get charges filed against my accusers I was informed by the FBI that if there was not a direct monetary cost related to their activities then there is no crime. With the appellate court's decision, my former employer has no direct related cost, however, I do. Therefore, I feel that if the prosecutor's office is not going to file charges against my former employer and its representatives for what they did then this case against me which I plead to attempted access should be reversed and dismissed. I plan on telling this to the judge next time I see her but with the very tight relationship my former employer has with the county prosecutor's office, I doubt anything will be rectified. I've been trying to find an attorney that would initiate the criminal charges against my former employer since the county prosecutor's office is totally avoiding this and so far it all comes down to money. If you have thousands of dollars to spend then you can get justice, otherwise you are just screwed.

I had a feeling something was up with my current employer when they started asking me for passwords then about having a security assessment. I now have confirmation that my former employer is speaking to my current CEO, and has given her an earful. I only have an idea of the lies he would be telling her and with the way the system is setup, one really has no protection. I only hope that my CEO is smart enough to be able to tell that this guy is a vindictive sociopath snake.

If anyone has any ideas of what I could do???

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