Notice of Constructive Termination


Introduction to letter: Sharron Maqngum sent the following letter to LOYNO's President Kevin Wildes on June 9, 2014 notifying him of her Constructive Termination (constructive discharge) effective that same day. Lawyers.com describes "constructive discharge" as when an employee quits or resigns from their job because working conditions were so intolerable the employee feels they have no choice but to leave.


Sharron D. Mangum
3000 Tulane Avenue, #254
New Orleans, LA 70119
Ph. 404-931-1806
Email: sharronm3@gmail.com

VIA USPS Certified Return Receipt #7013 3020 0000 4901 2604

Monday, June 9, 2014

Fr. Kevin Wm. Wildes
President Loyola University New Orleans
6363 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70118

 

Re: Notice of Constructive Termination effective June 9, 2014

Dear Fr. Wildes:

I am writing to provide you with the details of the hostile work environment and the ongoing unlawful practices perpetrated against me that leads to my notice of constructive termination effective today, Monday, June 9, 2014.

February 4, 2010, I was hired as a temporary employee to handle the responsibilities of **** *********, the Executive Director of Administrative Operations ("EDAO") at Loyola University New Orleans ("LOYNO") within the College of Social Sciences ("CSS"). The EDAO who was out of the office on leave when I assumed her duties, returned in July to a position in another division of LOYNO. I was hired as Ms. *********'s replacement on September 6, 2010. At this time, Luis Mirón, the former CSS Dean, and I were told by HR that while I assumed the EDAO duties, I was prevented from holding the title since the former EDAO had a legal claim against the University. Please note that the EDAO was the only African American in management in the CSS and a member of the CSS Council of Chairs of Directors. From 2010 to present, not only did I have responsibilities of the EDAO job duties, but also the responsibilities of the Dean, Associate Dean and Sr. Administrative Assistant jobs, which was outlined in my discrimination, harassment and retaliation complaint of March 19, 2013.

May 3, 2012, Roger White, Special Assistant to the Provost and Chair of the Political Science Department at the time, requested to meet with me to discuss my job responsibilities. During this meeting Roger explained to me that the University was concerned that it was libelous since my title and job description did not accurately reflect my daily duties since my hire in 2010. He also stated that he wanted to discuss the same issue with ***** ******* in a separate meeting. A couple of weeks following our meetings with Roger, he stated to me that he would submit the paperwork to HR to reclassification our positions.

September 4, 2012, a second attempt was made by Luis Mirón, the sitting CSS Dean at that time, to correct the issues with my position title, duties and workload in an approved request to HR and Provost Marc Manganaro. At the same time, Luis Mirón approved a request to reclassify ***** *********'s position as well. However, after a near twelve (12) month delay from the original submission of both requests, Gita Bolt stated in her communication of May 2013 that my reclassification lacked merit and that the University was having financial hardship. However, while I continued to perform the duties of the EDAO, Dean, Associate Dean and Sr. Administrative Assistant, these positions were abolished with the employment of Roger White as Interim Dean allegedly because the CSS would merge with one or more of the other academic divisions. Please note that in the history of LOYNO and any other educational institution for that matter they have never operated without a second in command. As Interim Dean White downsized the CSS Dean's Office to three (3) administrative staff personnel, some CSS staff and faculty were promoted in addition to some LOYNO academic units promoting staff and faculty and increasing their Associate Dean positions to two or more. It is my belief that the bias perpetrated against me was based on discrimination in age, gender and race and retaliation for reporting these issues and the ongoing financial mismanagement/malfeasance.

March 20, 2013 I was admitted to the emergency room with symptoms of a mini stroke, which my doctors diagnosed from my history of migraine headaches related to job stress. I was released by my doctor to return to work with the condition of reducing work related stress. Approximately June 2013, the incoming Interim Dean Roger White met with me to conduct a desk audit of my responsibilities. I expressed at that time that my disability was triggered by the hostile work environment and the excessive workload. I was assured by Interim Dean White that upon his taking office, I would no longer have responsibilities of the Dean and Associate Dean and that he would facilitate getting my position reclassified appropriately. However, upon arrival to the CSS Dean's Office Interim Dean White announced to ***** *******, ***** ********* and me that he would show us how to appear like you're doing work. Accordingly and to my dismay, upon inquiring about my position reclassification, Interim Dean White put up his hand with his palm to my face stating, "Let me take care of ***** first." Not only did I not receive a position reclassification to which I was lawfully entitled, but I was required to continue duties of the EDAO, Dean, the Associate Dean and the Sr. Administrative Assistant. To make matters worse, Interim Dean White advised the CSS Unit Leaders and the CSS Dean's Office staff that he prefers meetings rather than reading and preparing responses to written communication (emails, reports, requests, etc.). Accordingly, my already overburdened workload significantly increased from reading emails and reports submitted to Interim Dean White to now meeting with him to discuss these requests and prepare responses on his behalf. In addition to these responsibilities, I prepared all dean's letters of recommendation to the provost for Ordinary faculty contract renewal. On several occasions, Interim Dean White would have me stand over his shoulders in his office to read email communication from you Fr. Wildes as well as those from the Provost to assist him in crafting responses. I believe that this abuse of power was clear retaliation for complaining about discrimination, harassment and financial mismanagement/malfeasance.

Between September 2013 and October 2013, I met with Interim Dean White on several occasions to discuss Provost Manganaro's mandate to conduct a financial restructuring of all LOYNO divisions. It was disheartening to hear Interim Dean White state that he was targeting individuals who had exercised their rights to complain formally or informally of what they believed to be violation of their civil rights. At least three (3) Extraordinary faculty members (******* ******, ***** ****** and ******** **********) and the Associate Dean (**** *****) employment ended as a result of what I believe was Interim Dean White's personal vendetta/bias against them. He stated to me that these individuals had caused problems within the CSS/University, which he was required to investigate as the Special Assistant to the Provost. As Interim Dean, he targeted many of the CSS Unit Leaders for retaliation when they voiced concerns of the disparity in application of the CSS financial restructuring, the lack leadership in resolving student, staff and faculty complaints, the lack of financial accountability across LOYNO, the bias practices, the treatment of staff and faculty, etc. He often stated that he took issue with CSS Unit Leaders, ****** *******, ** ********, ***** *****, ***** **** and **** *****. In one incident, ***** *******, a female Ordinary faculty member from the School of Mass Communication left his office in tears when she and the Director, ***** ****, made an attempt to reason with Interim Dean White as his decision affected the school's accreditation. A similar situation also occurred in the School of Nursing when he met with its faculty and director. Additionally, his hatred of ***** **** was so fervent that he voiced wanting to fire her and his plans to undermine her authority by bad mouthing her to Provost Manganaro and the other CSS Unit Leaders. I believe that Interim Dean White's decisions have caused irreparable harm to me as a witness to these events and to the individuals that have lost their employment or have had their employment threatened because of his personal vendetta/bias against them.

November 2013, Interim Dean White met with two (2) female students from the Political Science Department separately to discuss the department chair's decision to deny their requests to take a course at Tulane University. These students had already taken the course, but felt that they should be given preference over any other students. Following the meeting with ****** *******, an African American female student, Interim Dean White advised me that he suggested to her that she file a complaint against the Political Science Chair, ***** *****, which I personally believed was frivolous since Interim Dean White expressed that he had a vendetta against the chair. I believe that Interim Dean White's inability to conduct fair and just investigations into CSS female students, faculty and staff claims of sexual harassment are jaded by his past public relationship with a female student in addition to his frequent contact with certain young female students (****** *******, **** ********* and ****** ******), and in closed door office meetings, offsite lunches and dinners, and trips with him to the synagogue and other places after business hours, which he and the students have shared with either me or other personnel with the CSS.

One example of the ongoing sexual harassment of students, staff and faculty occurred in the CSS Department of Criminal Justice. **** *******, ******* *****, ****** ******* and several female students complained of ******** *******'s sexual harassment of them in person or via written communication. ******** ******* was an Ordinary faculty member for approximately five (5) years in the department. One text message to ******* ***** stated "size matters" which was reported to Interim Dean White. In addition to the sexual harassment, female students complained of ******** *******'s use of the "N" word and other racial slurs in the classroom. At no point during the course of ******** *******'s five (5) year employment was he ever terminated for his ongoing misconduct. In fact, ******** ******* was allowed to hold dual employment at LOYNO and at another university in Seattle this year for several months before he turned in his resignation.

2010 to present, I discovered a number of instances of financial malfeasance. In one instance, revenue generated from student tuition was used to fund Shauna Crowden's community service requirement as part of her sentencing agreement for a felony conviction of fraud. Shauna Crowden holds the position of Office Manager in the School of Nursing. HR approved this individual's compensation after being fully aware that the dates and times reported on her timesheets reflected the periods that she was in Houston, Texas completing her felony sentencing agreement. Further, Shauna Crowden has taken FMLA leave frequently and have had unrecorded absences without a disruption in pay or benefits. HR has forbidden Director **** ***** and the supervising Program Coordinator, **** ******, for issuing verbal or written warnings or terminating her employment for walking off the job without notice, unwillingness to complete work assignments, disappearing for hours during the workday without notice, not reporting for work when the supervisor is traveling, and harassing, threatening and intimidating staff personnel in the CSS Dean's Office as well as in School of Nursing where she works. Shaun Crowden regularly boasts about her personal relationships with HR and the Office of General Counsel and states that this is the reason nothing will ever happen to her regardless of who complains. For example, when the School of Nursing faculty and director were asked to eliminate staff positions that where no longer necessary as part of LOYNO's financial restructuring, the elimination of Shauna Crowden's position was rejected and ******* ****** was terminated instead. I believe that Interim Dean White's and HR's behavior towards me is bias and in concert with this individual who stated that she and her former supervisor were organizing a campaign to terminate my employment, which I reported to HR.

April 11, 2014, my physician placed me on medical leave for the second time due to the same reoccurring illness resulting from work related stress. The first occasion occurred in March 2013 when I was admitted through the emergency room of Tulane University Hospital for what appeared to be a mini stroke. There has been a long documented history that my illness was induced in September 2012 by work related stress. Since I have been out on leave this second time, I have found the harassing and intimidating attitude towards me and my doctor outrageous. In addition to having my salary discontinued from FMLA and thus a cancellation of my medical benefits, I was given little or no notice from ***** ******, HR Payroll Manager, via certified mail of an appointment with LOYNO's Neurologist, Dr. ******, and a request for duplicate paperwork from my doctor. When I arrived at Dr. ******'s address on Broadway that was provided by ***** ******, I learned that he did not have an office in the building. Upon contacting ******* *********, HR Benefits Coordinator, to notify that Dr. ****** was not at the address indicated in ***** ******'s certified letter, she informed me that the appointment had been cancelled. I was advised an appointment was arranged for me to meet with another Neurologist, Dr. ******, the following day. However, ******* did not have an address or phone number for this doctor at the time. I received an email from ******* later that day directing me to an office in Metairie, which is quite a distance from where I live in the City. Clearly, ***** ****** had no clue what she was doing when she prepared the certified letter to me since she has never held the position of HR Benefits Coordinator and this was just a tactic by HR to worsen my illness. The third request for my doctor to complete duplicate FMLA paperwork already submitted to HR occurred during the Memorial Holiday when his offices were closed, thus leaving me with only one day to have it completed instead of the seven (7) days stated in the letter. I believe that HR's behavior and the phony appointment to see Dr. ****** is clearly constructive harassment.

My doctor completed the FMLA paperwork as he has in the past, however, on this occasion, HR refused to accept that I was medically unable to perform my job duties. My doctor was specifically asked why I could not just come to work sick. He was mandated to prepare a letter on his letterhead with his signature stating that he read in detail the responsibilities in my job description and to certify in writing that my illness prevented me from performing them. My doctor and LOYNO's Dr. ****** were alarmed at the three (3) pages of duties in my job description in addition to the duties I described of the EDOA, Dean, Associate Dean and Sr. Administrative Assistant not included in the description. Please note that HR revised the two (2) page job description to just barely one (1) page that was submitted to them by Interim Dean White and ***** ******* for her position reclass and promotion to Director of Student Services. My doctor and his office personnel felt badgered and harassed to a point where they described LOYNO's HR as "crazy." In addition to the hostile environment and the excessive workload, HR's attitude towards my doctor and his staff caused my doctor to be concerned about releasing me to return to work. Upon reassuring him that I would see another opportunity elsewhere, he released me to return to work today with the requirement of a reduction in work related stress. Please note that LOYNO's Dr. ****** had similar concerns which he documented in his report in my medical file. Again, I believe that this attitude towards me is in retaliation for complaining of discrimination, hostile work environment, financial mismanagement/ malfeasance, etc.

Lastly, Interim Dean White often states that the financial problems with the University are from you and Provost Manganaro's lack of competence and leadership ability to make decisions. He stated that it is well known that LOYNO's financial problems are a direct result of the surplus in Ordinary tenured faculty members that have amassed six figure salaries over the history of their employment. These faculty members typically do not teach at all or teach a course or two with less than five (5) students enrolled, which is well below the minimum requirement of 20-30 depending on the subject. This is the reason why Interim Dean White believes that these faculty members refuse to retire as there is no incentive. Further, he specifically cited that you and Provost Managanaro were well aware of the issue with Ordinary faculty and that declaration of financial exigency was the only way to resolve the ongoing budget deficit, which he stated, will be in the tens of millions of dollars next academic year. Interim Dean White states that you and Provost Manganaro refused to act for fear of a vote of no confidence from faculty because you both want to retain your positions and Provost Managanro desired to ascend to the position of President upon your retirement.

In conclusion, since my employment, all of the issues outlined above and other ongoing events not mentioned here have caused irreparable damage to my health. I believe that HR's conduct and Interim Dean White's lack of intervention was nothing more than vicious acts to constructively terminate my employment as I indicated in my original notice of August 2012 when I learned of the campaign initiated to terminate my employment. Accordingly, I am terminating my employment with Loyola University New Orleans effective today, June 9th based on the hostile work environment, the ongoing threat to my health, the retaliation, the harassment and discrimination.

Sincerely,
Sharron D. Mangum
College of Social Sciences
Executive Assistant to the Dean