Thursday, February 13, 2020

The 3rd nominee for the “worst employer of 2020” is … the arresting retaliator

An African-American employee claims he suffered rampant discrimination at the towing company at which he worked, including being called racial slurs. But that’s not what qualifies A&B Towing for its nomination as the Worst Employer of 2020. It’s what happened to Michael Fesser after he complained to his boss about the discrimination and harassment that is truly eye-opening and offensive.

NBC News has the details:

West Linn police began investigating Fesser in February 2017 after Fesser raised concerns to his boss, Eric Benson, owner of A&B Towing, that he was being racially discriminated against at work. … 
After he raised his concerns, Benson contacted West Linn Police Chief Terry Timeus, his friend, and persuaded to look into allegations that Fesser had stolen from the company, according to the lawsuit. 
The suit said the theft allegations were false and unsubstantiated. 
But with the approval of West Linn police Lt. Mike Stradley, Detectives Tony Reeves and Mike Boyd used audio and video equipment to watch Fesser while he was at work, according to the suit. The surveillance was “conducted without a warrant or probable cause” and did not result in any evidence that Fesser was stealing from his employer, the lawsuit stated. 
Regardless, West Linn officers, with the help of Portland police officers, arrested Fesser days later based on Reeves’ and Stradley’s “false representations” to Portland police that they had probable cause for an arrest. …
Fesser spent about eight hours at the police station before he was released on his own recognizance. He was later contacted by West Linn police to come to the station to retrieve some of his belongings. While he was there, officers informed Fesser that he had been fired from his job, according to the lawsuit. …
According to the lawsuit, criminal charges in the arrest weren’t filed until after Fesser sued his employer over his termination and for discrimination. The charges were later dismissed.

If you call in a friendly favor to the chief of police to have an employee falsely arrested after that employee complains of workplace discrimination and harassment, you might be the worst employer of 2020.