Those actions were retaliatory, said Ward Morrow, AFGE assistant general counsel.
“It just seemed more than circumstantial that her duties were changed after her testimony and her evaluation was changed on the eve of her testimony,” Morrow said Tuesday.
Morrow has provided OSC with documentation of the alleged retaliation, including e-mail traffic, that has apparently piqued the independent agency’s interest beyond a preliminary inquiry already conducted.
“They’re going to continue the investigation,” Morrow said. “So they’re not taking the case per se, but they are continuing to investigate. That’s the functional equivalent.” The agency is expected to decide soon whether to formally accept the case.
Morrow said the union also is “having discussions with several members of Congress.”
Washington expressed concern about possible retaliation at the time she testified.
“I fear retaliation by management for participating in this hearing,” Washington said. “Nevertheless, I took the risk of testifying today because of the importance of speaking out about the growing barriers to providing mental health care to my patients. Like my colleagues, I work at the VA because of an intense dedication to serving this unique patient population, and their service-connected mental health conditions.”