Remember Office Space from 1999? An office cult classic! Remember how the big boss (Lumbergh) got rid of an employee (Milton) he didn’t like? He kept pushing his office away until finally poor Milton had to sit in the basement and kill cockroaches. Haven’t seen the movie? Watch it! Then decide for yourself if the alleged actions of Tim Gardner towards Rita Luna-Cassias are pretty much the same thing.

Here’s some excerpts from the lawsuit complaint that Rita Cassias-Luna brought against Sandia. The italics are my comments.

The employee, as always, starts out with good performance:

“Plaintiff consistently, throughout her employment with Sandia, received positive ratings on performance reviews.”

She’d trained younger men, but now she was apparently too old (in Tim Gardner’s view):

“During 2011, Defendant changed the Neutron Generator Production Specialist position to require a Trade Certificate but did not change the essential functions of the position. Tim Gardener, a Manager at Sandia Corporation implemented this program in an attempt to get rid of all of the Grade 8 pay-level employees in the Neutron Generator location.”

“On April 2014 after being harassed within the division about her age, Plaintiff filed a complaint internally for age discrimination.”

The retaliation began:

“… Plaintiff was denied access to the vaulted work area… Plaintiff received a letter that she had a choice to retire or “evoke their bumping rights.”… Plaintiff was informed that she would no longer be working as a Neutron Generator Production Specialist due to workforce reduction.  Plaintiff was accused of “sabotage.” … Plaintiff was escorted by security out of the office location and was forced to move to a trailer. Management went through her belongings. Mr. Gardner took away Plaintiff’s work access cards and made her sit at a desk and do absolutely nothing for two weeks… Mr. Gardner informed Plaintiff that she lost her positions due to a workforce reduction. However, there was no reduction in the workforce, individuals whom Plaintiff had trained—some of whom had a Trades Degree and some who did not—were still working as Neutron Generator Production Specialists.  When Plaintiff lost her positions, the remaining Neutron Generator Production Specialists were male employees most under the age of forty. The “sabotage” allegations did not result in any action taken against Plaintiff.”

An oldie approach we’ve seen before:

Defendant strongly encouraged Plaintiff to retire.”

“Plaintiff was initially funneled into a truck driver “heavy” grade 6 position… Plaintiff was [then] transferred to the “Re-Application” division or the junkyard. At the new position, Plaintiff was moved from a Pay Grade 8 to a Pay Grade 6. After the Union contested this issue, Defendant Sandia Corporation restored the pay grade but froze the scale, so that Plaintiff could no longer receive any raises, unlike the males in similar positions. The jobs in the Re-Application Division involved sorting through boxes of discarded materials, which were covered in mouse and rat urine. Plaintiff was not initially provided proper safety equipment. Plaintiff reported the conditions to her supervisor, and she was given gloves and told it would “be all right.” Plaintiff was called a “cry-baby” for informing managers about the work conditions.“

Rita was laid off by Sandia in February, 2015.

A sad case. I’m glad Rita didn’t get HANTA VIRUS. Hey, Tim, how about you go do that reapp job with no gloves for a day and see how you like it?

Once again, watch out if you’re getting older. They could be coming for your job!

But notice something more insidious here. You’ll see this theme over and over again in the Sandia Treatment. Rita was accused of sabotage. There was no proof, and the company did not follow up with an action against her for that. It appears to be a falsified charge to support forcing Rita out the door.

Sunita Moonka was accused of poor performance but with what is apparently falsified accusations. Thelma Ortiz was accused of not being able to physically do her job with a supposed report that she was never allowed to see. Although I’d held a security clearance for over twenty years and been recleared several times, I was told I was a security risk and my access to classified information was removed so I couldn’t do any work. 

If you experience this, they’re coming for you next. Sandia allows its managers to falsify records in order to force you out the door. 

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