PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — After deaths from Legionella and controversial bonuses to its former administrator, the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System has been hit with another controversy.
The VA wants to fire three employees and discipline four others for harassing a fellow employee, the acting director of the local VA, Barbara Forsha, confirmed in a statement.
“We have determined that the employees’ behavior warrants proposed disciplinary actions,” Forsha said.
Over a period of a week to 10 days, these seven employees harassed another employee, a plumber.
The victim apparently complained to VA officials when he was duct-taped to a chair.
Sources say the alleged harassment had nothing to do with the victim’s race, religion, gender, or age.
It was strictly personal.
“This alleged incident is deeply troubling, and completely contrary to VA’s core values of integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence,” Forsha said in a statement. “This alleged behavior has no place in our organization.”
The employees apparently remain on duty with pay although separated from the victim until a formal discipline process is completed that involves Local 2028 of the American Federation of Government Employees.
In the meantime, the president of the state’s American Legion lambasted the Pittsburgh VA.
“The latest incident of a VA worker in Oakland being bound to a chair with duct tape seems more like a college frat house prank rather than the professional environment that veterans have a right to expect when they visit the health care system that exists to serve them,” said Commander Dennis Haas.
“Those involved in this type of boorishness need to grow up or get off the VA payroll.”
Forsha said most employees are hard-working and dedicated, and she’s committed to improving the overall workplace environment.