Sunday, February 20, 2005


From Anonymous:

WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? This director has on several occasions stated that those who have acquired legal support because he (Nanos) accused them of misconduct, must pay for their legal assistance but he doesn't have to. Are those accused by Nanos able to get the NO out of pocket legal aid that he is being afforded? Director devious has implied to them that he can defeat them by financially draining them with the cost of there legal fees but, are we the tax payers the fools who will pay for his? What a scam! (DRAIN THEM FINANCIALLY AND THE OPPOSITION GOES AWAY). Where is the Nanos' legal support coming from? Washington, D.O.E, U.C or lab funds? Whereever, we're paying for it! You, as an employee of the laboratory (past or present) if your career and or reputation have been compermised because Nanos has taken action against you for what has been investigated and determined that you are not guilty of, have the right to the same legal rate that he has. This is a work place issue at a federal institution. Don't let Nanos skate out of this.

While it's a bit disturbing to hear about the director making overt remarks like, "My lawyers are cheaper than yours," I'm told John Horne's rejoinder was, "I have contingency fee lawyers," which stopped Nanos cold. Additionally, if this episode plays out in front of the jury, it might not go well for Nanos. Juries tend to be composed of ordinary people who don't look kindly upon managers threatening subordinates with financial ruin for challenging their actions.

The Lab has a long tradition of leaving employee's to the wolves.

Individuals who got sucked into the Wen-Ho Lee and NEST disk-drive fiascoes had to pay their own lawyers enormous amounts of money to protect their rights at the hands of the ham-fisted FBI agents. No refunds.
Actually, some of the people involved in the NEST hard drives fiasco did get partially compensated for their legal fees - after they were absolved of any crime.
LANL's legal defense funds all come from a bottomless pit at DOE. If it loses, the losses are paid out of LANL 's operating budget. Therefore, it is very much in LANL's best interests to continue its lawsuits as long as possible with appeals to higher courts, depositions, experts and whatever.
The hope on LANL's part is that the plaintiff will run out of money or die before the suit ends. And with some notable exceptions, LANL does win most of its lawsuits.
UPTE has long protested DOE's use of the taxpayers' money to indiscriminately fight every employee's suit that comes along. A for profit organization would cut its loses and settle suits that cost more than they are worth.
The only thing new about this is that instead of being a dirty little secret, Nanos brags openly about it.
It is time to stop yet another ongoing abuse of employees.
IANAL, but the threat of some outside lawyer filing subpoenas to get at sensitive Lab documents in the middle of a contract bid can't be a happy thought for the upper management.

This is not unique to Nanos - anytime you have a conflict with any manager at LANL, including filing harrassment claims against the manager, LANL pays the manager's legal fees. The logic behind this is that a complaint against management is a complaint against LANL. In my opinion it is one of many symptoms of a broken complaint and conflict resolution system which stems from pre-Nanos.

However, the attitude shown by Nanos' comment "my lawyers are cheaper than yours", once again demonstrates his willingness to take a bad situation and turn it into a nightmare.
One important fact is that LANL will only supply legal assistance to managers that have operated within the rules. Once rules or laws are violated the lab has the option to cut and run. Considering what has happened here I think Nanos et al. may be digging into their own pockets soon.

One can only hope.
It’s egregious that the University of California being subject to California and Federal law would be complicit in using Federal tax dollars to drive individuals into bankruptcy when all they were doing was following a procedure (AM-111) designed by said university to amicably and fairly resolve workplace issues. It’s even more egregious that the University would condone and support any officer or agent of the University that would engage in such an abuse of power and denial of the due process guaranteed in both the US and California Constitutions.
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