I don't even know where to start this.
Let's start with what happened last week, I guess.
The annual medical Christmas party fell on the same day as psychiatric clinic last week, which means that they were setting up stuff for the party while we were seeing clients. I hadn't been invited, which was fine by me, although I often have been in the past. Several of the nurses and our psychiatrist asked me if I was staying. I said I hadn't been invited and that I hadn't brought any food, but they said I should stay anyway. I didn't want to hurt their feelings, so I stayed. There were about 25 people there, mostly medical personnel, but also a few officers, the assistant superintendent (Evil Boss, or MIA - Micromanaging Incompetent Asshat
), and the superintendent.
The head nurse began the festivities by welcoming everyone and reminding us that we should make sure to remember that "Jesus is the reason for the season." Naturally this raised my hackles, but I'm a guest, so I didn't say anything. Then she asked the superintendent to do a prayer before we ate, so he gave a Christian-oriented prayer which again reminded people to make sure that they remember that we are celebrating Jesus's birth. Again, I didn't say anything. I don't bow my head or close my eyes for these sorts of things, but I'm respectful by being quiet.
So then we ate. After we ate, they did their Secret Santa gift exchange. Naturally there wasn't one for me, since I hadn't been originally invited, but again I had no issues with this. I helped play Santa and handed out presents to folk. I stuck around for a little while, then headed back up to my office (where I had the lunch I had *planned* on eating waiting for me).
I should also mention, for new readers, that this is the medical department of a prison. We are a state agency. They shut down all medical operations for about 3 hours to hold this party.
Anyway, a couple hours later, I got a call from the head nurse asking if I had time to come down to talk to her. I really didn't (was waiting on a client), and my leg was acting up, so I asked if we could just talk on the phone. She said yes, then said that she and several of her staff felt that it was "inappropriate" that I had attended the Christmas party. She brought up the email incident of last year (for new readers, go here
) and said that some staff weren't comfortable with a non-Christian being at the party. She also said that she assumed I wouldn't want to go because of being non-Christian.
Let's point out a few things:
1) I never said in the email that I was a non-Christian. Now, as it happens, I'm not. But I never said as much.
2) Because of the "Jesus" comments at the party, the event was now Christian-specific, which violates church/state separation stuff.
3) By further stating that I wasn't welcome there due to being a non-Christian, you have now specifically discriminated against me and other non-Christian staff.
4) The only reason I attended the damn thing in the first place was because I was guilted into attending the damned thing.
I (nicely) pointed out these things to the head nurse and stated that, in the future, perhaps it would be better to hold a holiday or seasonal party instead of a Christmas party in order to be more inclusive. Further, if she wasn't sure whether or not I wanted to attend, perhaps it would be better to inquire as to my preferences rather than making assumptions.
Anyway, clearly we weren't going to see eye to eye on this, but we civilly ended the conversation and I went back to work.
Now, other recent readers may also remember that MIA moved Spy Case Manager
into the mental health trailer a few months ago. Call me paranoid, but I remain convinced that the sole reason for this was to find reasons to discipline mental health. This became even *more* evident after MIA found out that I'm trying to leave
.* * * * * * * * * *
So yesterday I get called into MIA's office. Head nurse (yes, of the Christmas party incident) is also there, ostensibly so that "another manager observes this conversation." MIA says that there have been "concerns" about me lately, which several of her staff (i.e. Spy Case Manager and her boss, who has always disliked me for some reason that is unknown to me) have "documented" (i.e. written me up for). The complaints are as follows (although I may be missing a few):
1) I put up a sign the other week when Spy Case Manager was on vacation informing the inmates that she was not available from Date X to Date Y. The Y date was wrong. I therefore am guilty of disseminating inaccurate information.Who gave me Y date? Spy Case Manager's boss. Why do we put up signs? We put up signs whenever *anyone* in the trailer is going to be absent for more than a day or two because otherwise inmates beat down the door knocking and disturb the rest of us. When Rich is out, I put up signs. When I am out, he puts up signs. This is nothing new.
2) Remember this incident?
Well, apparently this got relayed to MIA that I instructed them to take the inmate in question off the transfer list.WTF??? He wasn't on the transfer list, for starters. Second, I didn't tell them to do squat. I gave someone else some information that might be helpful to them in doing their job. They can do whatever they want with the information. MIA's response was that I'm not to talk to anyone else without talking to her first and that it is not necessary to share information. Since she already knew about the situation, she's a fucking idiot, and saying that no information should be shared is fucking stupid.
3) Spy Case Manager also complained about my saying something about her pet pedophile in front of our janitor.Spy Case Manager initiated this conversation by *asking me in front of our janitor* what I thought about her pet pedophile and I answered her question. That answer being that he is using her to gain acceptance for his predatory behavior, that the amount of time he spends in her office looks like undue familiarity, and that I am uncomfortable with him being in the trailer so much.
4) Spy Case Manager complained about me "disrespecting her" by talking to her and an inmate in her office.The inmate in question is one of my favorite inmates who is now on Spy Case Manager's case load. Spy Case Manager was talking to him with her door open and I came by to use the shredder (which is right beside her office). I joked with them for about 30 seconds before going back to my office.
5) MIA says I should have brought my concerns about Spy Case Manager and pedophile inmate through the chain of command rather than talking to Spy Case Manager about it.The official DOC training information on undue familiarity states that our first course of action when we are concerned about possible undue familiarity is to talk to the staff in question.
6) MIA then said that I should ignore the training and go through my "chain of command."I reported my concerns to both my boss (who is now retired), Spy Case Manager's boss, and the day shift captain.
7) MIA *then* said that I shouldn't have reported it to any of them but rather straight to her.So I should violate the chain of command?
8) Yes.And when I do that, you will write me up for violating the chain of command.
9) *Sputter, further contradictions, etc., etc.*I should note that the reason she wanted me to only report it to her is so she could bury it, since she will protect Spy Case Manager at all costs since, y'know, she is MIA's spy. Naturally she can't say this though.
So she continued to explain to me how I am all in the wrong and then threatened me with an internal investigation if I didn't "get in line." At this point I was just like "fine, I'm wrong, can I go now?" since *clearly* nothing beneficial was going to come from continuing the conversation. She told me I could not leave.
*Then* she brought up the Christmas party shit. Sided entirely with head nurse (funny, how she is supposed to be a "neutral observer" of this conversation when she is involved in the one of the "incidents"). Told me that it was "disrespectful" of me to attend the party when I hadn't been invited. Didn't want to hear that I was guilted into attending. Completely contradicted herself several times.
Then the kicker - it is apparently okay to hold a Christmas-specific party rather than a holiday or seasonal party because (and I quote): "Everyone acknowledges Christ and believes in Him even if they do not serve Him."o.O
I didn't even have a response to that.
In response to my concerns about a state-sanctioned religious event and the separation of church and state issues this brings up, MIA said that there was no such thing as a separation of church and state and that I needed to "prove" to her that there is such a thing. o.ODo what?
But yes, she was serious. When I pointed out to her that it was in the FUCKING CONSTITUTION AND BILL OF RIGHTS and that it would be a simple matter for her to look it up (because apparently she missed BASIC CIVICS in school), she insisted that I provide her with printed information and to "highlight the relevant parts."
Then she had the *nerve* to say that I had a "pattern" of this stuff based on my previous "counseling" in June on "professional ethics and harmonious co-worker relations." Why was I counseled? I was counseled because Rich sent me a highly inappropriate email.
. So "I have a track record" because you punished me for someone else's asshatness. I pointed this out and MIA didn't really have a response.
Eventually they finally let me leave. I'm definitely getting a "counseling" entry on my performance review
I spent the first hour of the rest of my day printing and highlighting the relevant portions of the Bill of Rights, North Carolina's Constitution, and some of the more salient Supreme Court rulings.
I spent the rest of my afternoon researching the EEOC, ACLU, and the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings (Civil Rights division), because I am seriously considering bringing suit. I firmly believe that I am being singled out for discrimination and disciplinary action because I am non-Christian and also quite probably because I am queer.
So as I see it I have 3 basic options:1) Do nothing. Pros:
It's exceedingly unlikely that they will be able to "get rid of me" before I leave in (hopefully) 6 to 7 months. Even MIA acknowledges that my *work* is spectacular, and all my performance ratings are "outstanding" and "very good."Cons:
There's always the chance that they can, and what if I *don't* get into school anywhere?2) Sue the shit out of them.Pros:
They deserve it. Even if I don't win, they will go through a lot of hell over this and it will put a bad spin on things.Cons:
I don't know if I have the energy for it, and it would detract from me being able to do my damned job.3) Go to the superintendent, explain what all is going on, give him the choice of having me sue or taking her out of my chain of command and have me report directly to him, and offer him all the dirt I have on MIA that I haven't reported.Pros:
Without rehashing *all* of it here, MIA really is only in the position she's in because she has connections with a Very Important Person in the upper echelons of state government. No one wants her here, except maybe Spy Case Manager. She is responsible for my boss leaving, several of my favorite case managers leaving, Rich's departure in 2 months, and my own plans to leave. The superintendent has essentially rolled over at this point because he doesn't have enough clout to get hid of her. The information I have might help him get rid of her. In the past he has agreed with me on the separation issues (see the Christmas email post).Cons:
He might side with her.
I don't know what to do, I really don't. I'm leaning towards option 3, but I just don't know. There was seriously a point in the conversation yesterday when I was moments away from telling her to fuck herself and quitting. But I can't afford to do that. I wish sometimes that I could have the courage of my convictions instead of being afraid.