Whistleblower Alleges That Corrections Officer Used Instagram Page To Harass Coworkers
Most of the time, the First Amendment protects people’s right to post offensive content online. In fact, by now, Internet users are used to the fact that some corners of the Internet are almost the exclusive province of people who post racist, hateful, or just plain tasteless comments in enormous quantities, sometimes in pursuit of laughs and sometimes simply to prove a point about freedom of expression. Meanwhile, employment law recognizes a hostile work environment, also known as workplace harassment, as a type of employment discrimination. You have the right to file a complaint against your employer if coworkers are harassing you about a protected characteristic, such as race, gender, or religion, or if they are doing it as retaliation because you engaged in a protected activity, such as requesting a family leave or reporting misconduct by your coworkers to regulators or to law enforcement. The harassment can take the form of offensive or threatening content posted online, although it can also take other forms. If you’re employed by the federal government, you must seek EEO counseling and file a complaint within 45 days of the harassing conduct or discrimination. If you have reported online harassment in your workplace or are planning to report it, contact a Los Angeles employer retaliation lawyer.
“Good Verbal” Isn’t Your Average Internet Troll
Like most whistleblowers, the whistleblower who reported the Instagram page full of racist and sexist content allegedly posted by a Bureau of Prisons employee has not disclosed his or her identity to the public, mostly out of fear of retaliation. The Instagram page, which belongs to someone who goes by the pseudonym Good Verbal, is full of racist, sexist, and nihilistic content that goes beyond the garden variety gallows humor than you might expect to hear at a stressful work environment. The whistleblower alleges that the content targets specific employees of the Federal Correctional Center in Victorville; the posts contain references to details about employees of that prison that would only be understandable to people who knew those employees personally or followed them on social media.
KTVU news spoke to four employees of the Victorville prison, and they all suspect that the same person is the owner of the Good Verbal Instagram page. The sources said that the Good Verbal account is only one manifestation of the hostile work environment at Victorville; they also reported that offensive images had been posted in the prison. They also declined to publicly identify themselves or the alleged author of the Good Verbal posts. The whistleblower told the news outlet that he or she is requesting that the Bureau of Prisons investigate the matter and take disciplinary action against the owner of the Good Verbal account. The current whistleblower action is only the most recent in a series of reports of misconduct by employees at correctional institutions.
Speak With a Los Angeles Whistleblower Action Lawyer
A Los Angeles whistleblower actions lawyer can help you report hostile work environment and other kinds of misconduct at your public sector or private sector workplace. Contact Obagi Law Group, P.C. in Los Angeles, California to discuss your situation or call 424-284-2401.