Thursday, August 18

State Employee Busted After Lying About Need to Telecommute to Take 2nd Job

Talk about having your cake and eating it too. A California state employee recently found himself in hot water for lying about his need to work from home, in order to secretly take on a second job.

The worker, who was employed with the Department of Industrial Relations, lied to his supervisor about needing to telecommute — claiming he needed to care of his sick mother — with the intention of secretly working a second full-time job at a San Francisco hospital, according to the report from the state auditor.

Taking place between 2010-2011, the lie was not discovered for almost a year — 10 months — due to the laid-back management style of the employee’s supervisor, according to State Auditor Elaine Howle’s December report.

The report, which focused on incidences of bad behavior among state employees and public agencies, included 10 substantiated allegations involving state employees and agencies that were brought to light courtesy of whistle-blowers.

In the case of the dishonest state worker, the Industrial Relations employee was required to work a standard 40-hour work week in order to maintain the department’s IT network as well as manage a staff of four employees. However, all that changed on Aug. 24, 2010 when the employee a full-time 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. position at Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center. The position was set to begin in September.

According to the auditor’s report, the employee e-mailed his manager on the same day he accepted the hospital position in order to schedule a meeting, at which time he requested time off in September to care for his ailing mother. After the leave ended, the supervisor allowed the employee to work remotely in order to accommodate his request to continue caring for his mother.

“The employee’s deceptive practices allowed him to engage in conflicting employment for a period of 10 months without Industrial Relations’ knowledge,” according to the auditor’s report. After learning of the employee’s second full-time job in June 2011, the supervisor told the employee he was no longer able to telecommute. The employee immediately resigned.

The state auditor recommended that the manager be disciplined for failure to provide stricter oversight, and that information related to the employee’s dishonesty be placed in the employee’s personnel file, should he pursue other state positions in the future.

The department said a memorandum was placed in the employee’s personnel file in September 2013 and the manager was counseled, as opposed to being disciplined, because “an adverse action would be too hard of a consequence in light of Industrial Relations not having an effective telecommuting policy in place.” The department later adopted a telecommuting policy, which became effective Jan. 1, 2014.

The employee’s dishonesty was found to have cost the state at least $12,200 in wages paid during the time he was working at his second job at the hospital. However, investigators claim this figure is may actually be far less than the actual amount, given that Industrial Relations was not able to determine exactly how much work the employee was actually performing while he was telecommuting.

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