Hello, my name is Scott and I am one of the Producers/Co-Hosts of the Truthzilla Podcast out of Eugene, Oregon and I recently was fired from my Behavioral Health job for standing in my Truth.
I recently became embroiled in an insane situation where I was terminated from my job in a retaliatory manner after having taken a very public stance against vaccine mandates in the workplace and helping other employees begin the process of writing religious exemptions.
My former employer, Willamette Family Treatment Services in Eugene, Oregon has contested Unemployment Benefits in this case and I was denied benefits thorught the State of Oregon. I have since started back to work part-time at a company that is sympathetic to the cause. I am still working on the podcast and doing side editing projects as much as possible.
I want to include the response I wrote to the Employment Department that also gives an overview of the entire situation for all of you that are new to the situation. Feel free to copy any or all of this in your own legal battles:
Thank you for the opportunity to be heard in this matter. I am writing today to appeal the decision regarding the Denial of Benefits in this case. I dispute the assertion by Willamette Family that I was involved in any degree of misconduct. By the end of this letter, I will communicate that:
1. there was no wilful misconduct or wantonly negligent behavior on my part in this case and that;
2. this case is a matter of disparate treatment, harassment, retaliation and discrimination basedon me asserting that I would be exercising my religious rights protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and further clarified by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under Section 12 and that;
3. Willamette Family violated Title VII by taking adverse action (engaging in disparate treatment) against myself, the employee, based on its belief that I might need a reasonable religious accommodation (EEOC Section 12-IV A1).
In speaking with the Employment Department Adjudicator in this case, I was told on two different occasions that there were two different reasons for my discharge. The first reason I was provided was this: Willamette Family claimed that they found material on my work computer, which they claimed was not work related, that involved religious exemptions from compulsory medical interventions in the workplace. I was told about this information by the Employment Department Adjudicator after I had been terminated.
In August of 2021, I was told by the Executive Director of Willamette Family, via email, that I would need to undergo a medical intervention that explicitly violates my deeply held religious belief in order to maintain employment. I then began researching what recourse I, as an employee, may have using my work computer.
These are unprecedented times and I was terrified. I felt that I was researching and downloading information that I needed to know, and to have, in order to exercise my rights and protect my job. To me, looking up this information on my work computer was undeniably work related, as it pertained to me learning how to exercise my rights as an employee. My belief, at the time, was that nothing could possibly be more work related. I used break and lunch break time to gather this information. Looking back, I do not believe that these actions in any way should be construed as misconduct or being wantonly negligent of company policy.
Following the declaration that the Agency would be requiring that all employees undergo a medical intervention as a basis for employment, I sent out an agency-wide email that declared my disagreement with this policy. I then began letting other employees know that there is a solution; that people who have deeply held religious beliefs are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that they did not need to be scared and that they were not alone.
I sent out an agency-wide email letting employees know that they could reach out to me if they wanted help with the process of filling out religious exemptions, as I have taken the time to educate myself about the laws related to this matter and that I am in contact with many lawyers and doctors who could help with various types of exemptions. I was surprised at how many other employees reached out to me that were terrified. Some of these employees were in tears. They felt as I did: isolated, scared and uncertain. I felt like I was doing the right thing in the face of this new hostile work environment that had been thrust upon us.
The second reason I was given by the Adjudicator, as to why I was terminated, was for sending out an Agency-wide email. What I did was the following: I simply hit “reply all” to an Agency-wide email that was sent out by the Executive Director discussing these new policies. I then pressed the "+" button, which then populated each employee’s email address into the “send line”. I, in no way, circumvented any “new” protocol that Willamette Family had put in place, which I was completely unaware of, which I only found out about from the Adjudicator at the Employment Department after I had been terminated. I did not take company time to write each employee's email address in the "send line".
Agency-wide emails get sent out everyday by many different employees throughout the Agency. It is not a privilege only reserved for supervisory roles. Anyone could do it. For example, every time someone gets promoted, an Agency-wide email gets sent out informing the entire Agency. People generally respond with Agency-wide emails congratulating that person. I thought that Agency-wide emails were encouraged. I thought that Upper Management at Willamette Family would view me trying to inform and empower other employees about their protected rights as being noble and that they would consider these actions to be a positive thing. I had no idea that this action would be construed as “misconduct” and I was shocked and very disheartened that this ended up being the Agency’s position.
If I had any idea that either gathering information about my rights as an employee or sending out agency-wide emails informing other employees about their rights were violations of company policy, I would not have done them. I was acting solely from a place of good intention and it breaks my heart that these actions are considered misconduct.
It was only after I declared that I would be exercising my religious rights protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and further clarified by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under Section 12 that I was then targeted, scrutinized, retaliated against and wrongfully terminated. This is a very clear-cut case of disparate treatent, harassment, discrimination and retaliation towards me for standing in my religious beliefs and for trying to help others stand in theirs. I often wonder if other employees’ work computers are scrutinized to the same degree that I was and held to the same standard that I was or if I was selectively targeted and treated disparately for my religious beliefs.
To this date, I have not been able to obtain a clear answer from Willamette Family as to why I was terminated. I reached out to Willamette Family, in writing, on 9/2/21 for clarification as to why I was terminated and I never received a response. I have been told vague reasons, such as Willamette Family’s claim that I “violated their technology policy”, however, no evidence or reason has been provided.
I have also not received a proper notice regarding the reason for the Denial of Benefits in this case, in accordance with ORS 657.267, stating: “the notice must also set forth the specific material facts obtained from the employer and the employer’s agents that are used by the authorized representative to support the reasons of the denial.” I was only told that I “[was] fired for misconduct connected to work”, which does not constitute “specific material facts”.
Another important fact to consider in this case is that at no time was I ever given a warning, put on notice, told to cease, informed, reprimanded or otherwise notified that anything that I was doing was wrong or against company policy. My termination came as a complete surprise to me and my family.
By contributing to this fund, you are helping me replace my income for the time being so that I can focus on bringing the world as much Truth as possible via our show, The Truthzilla Podcast, and offering a platform for Warriors of Truth to come on and spread their message. There are books I want to write, documentaries I want to produce and many more years of bringing you the Truthzilla Podcast ahead. Thank you so very much, in advance, for your consideration in assisting in this battle.