A former employee of the Veteran's Administration has filed a lawsuit in California, accusing the VA of wrongful termination. The employee went even further and claimed her employer was responsible for several cover-ups and showed a complete disregard for the plight of veterans. She filed the wrongful termination suit after losing her job when she advocated for a veteran whose application for benefits was denied by the VA.
The VA claims she exceeded her authority when she asked for an additional review of the man's claim. The head of the VA in Oakland claims the woman should have just sent the veteran a letter denying his benefits, regardless of how she felt personally about the decision. The veteran whose benefits were denied was in court with the employee when her case had a hearing recently. The plaintiff in the case claims the VA denied the veteran his benefits based upon his never having seeing combat; however, the man had been deployed and witnessed when Beirut was shelled in 1983.
The woman's case may add fuel to a fire surrounding the VA and how they handle disability claims. Some 900,000 veterans are reportedly waiting for disability benefits. The average wait time to receive a decision is close to a year. The former employee claims the veteran's case is merely a smokescreen to cover up harassment claims made by another former employee because of her sexual orientation. The VA has denied the accusation of harassment.
The woman's wrongful termination suit is ongoing in California, and it is as yet unknown when a decision will be reached. When employees feel they have been subjected to wrongful termination, they often have legal rights available to them. Understanding one's legal rights can help employees fight against wrongful behavior and recover compensation if the damages are proved in court.
Source: California Watch, "Ex-worker accuses VA of 'callous indifference' to veterans," Aaron Glantz, Nov. 27, 2012