JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri has been ordered to pay full back pay plus an undisclosed additional cash amount to three women that were wrongfully terminated from their posts at the St. James Veterans Home in 2010.
Theresa Bach, Velinda Wofford and Bobby Petty were all members and officers of AFSCME Local 2093 when they were terminated in 2010 for failing to show up for work. But courts, along with a ruling some time ago by the state Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC) — which allows for any state employee to appeal a termination or other workplace grievance — found that all three were terminated due to an “anti-union” bias of their boss, Patty Faenger.
The AHC ruling in December of 2012 found an “inconsistent” application of the “no call, no show,” policy at the facility and cited “extensive facts” as to why the terminations were based on an “anti-union” basis.
Jerald Hochsztein, a St. Louis attorney and member of the Workers’ Rights Board of Jobs With Justice, issued a statement on the settlement. The Worker’s Rights Board advocated on behalf of the three women involved in the case.
“Nearly five years after being wrongfully fired for their workplace activism, these three women have finally gotten a small piece of justice,” Hochsztein said. “While it is good that the victims have been made whole financially, I also hope the Missouri Veterans Commission has learned that it will not get away with targeting and punishing an employee simply because she stands to speak up on behalf of the rights of her fellow workers.”
The Veteran’s Commission appealed the AHC ruling in Cole County Court and the Western Court of Appeals and was rebuffed. For months since, the commission has negotiated with their former employees on the precise terms of a deal. Last week, just before the end of the fiscal year, the commission paid all three women in full.
Faenger currently serves as assistant director of the commission’s homes program.
Collin Reischman is the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. To contact Collin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @CMReischman