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   Author  Topic: Working for the USPTO  (Read 453056 times)
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Posts: 3472
Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #960 on: May 22nd, 2007, 5:17pm »
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on May 21st, 2007, 10:22pm, lsi wrote:
"This is a legal sweatshop here," Stern said. "The truth is we could do a better job with more time."

I don't believe Stern is with POPA anymore so this quote is a bit dated.
POPA makes no bones about being an employee advocacy group and generally leaves Dudas and his managers to advocate for the the plus side of the PTO.   I am not going to suggest that one side or the other is right most of the time,  but you aren't reading the whole story in that article.
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #961 on: May 22nd, 2007, 7:44pm »
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Why is anybody barred from working voluntary unpaid overtime?  Is that a result of some union vs. management backroom negotiation?
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #962 on: May 22nd, 2007, 7:55pm »
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What about the PTO trying to prosecute people for larceny based on their work and attendance sheets?  POPA (check their wesite at popa dot org) has an article this month about that. They say that a pregnant woman who was making 130 % production was prosecuted in a virginia court by the pto for larceny because she came into work a few hours late.  Did that really happen?
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #963 on: May 22nd, 2007, 8:13pm »
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This is the article:
Examiner Not Guilty of Criminal
Time Reporting Charges
A Virginia jury acquitted a former patent examiner of
criminal larceny charges for allegedly collecting pay for
work not done. The charges were based on discrepancies
between the examiner’s turnstile records and her time
sheets. Following a two-and-a-half day trial, the jury
returned the verdict after deliberating only 15 minutes. The
jury foreman later apologized to the examiner, saying the
jury was sorry she’d had to go through the ordeal.
The Department of Commerce Inspector General’s
Office (IG), with USPTO assistance, initiated the criminal
investigation against the examiner, who holds a medical
degree, a law degree, and who consistently produced at a
level above 130 percent for the agency. For three years
(2003-2005) the employee was awarded outstanding job
evaluations with commendable quality by two supervisors.
Then she got a new supervisor and her work life took a
decided turn for the worse. Difficulties with new supervisor
Kevin Sirmons began the first biweek after he took over her
art unit in October 2005. Sirmons was often away from his
office during that time. As previous supervisors had
authorized and without any indication to the contrary from
Sirmons, the examiner had a senior primary examiner
review and sign applications in Sirmons’ absence and
submitted them for production credit. Sirmons held them
until “count Monday,” the submission deadline day when,
without a word to the examiner, he left them in her office
with the primary examiner’s approving signature crossed
out. She, as a result, had abysmally low production that
biweek. He told her he was upset she had gone to the
primary examiner.
The relationship was off to a rocky start. The examiner
tried to get out but was not allowed to transfer to another
art unit. Two months of continuous difficulties with Sirmons
brought the examiner to a level of frustration she could not
tolerate. She went on annual leave in December 2005 and
subsequently resigned from the USPTO in January 2006.
In June 2006 IG Special Agent Rachel Ondrik paid a
surprise visit to the examiner at home and asked about her
time accounting. Ondrik indicated that there were a number
of discrepancies between the examiner’s badge-in, badge-out
turnstile records and the time she reported on her time and
attendance forms. Ondrik questioned other USPTO
examiners in their offices about this case in ways that they
described as witness intimidation. (See POPA News, Jan.
2007.) The Commonwealth of Virginia arrested the
examiner in July 2006 on charges of obtaining money, and
attempting to obtain money, under false pretenses. The trial
was held in January 2007.
Ondrik testified at the trial that one of the examiner’s
earlier supervisors “had warned her that those turnstile
records could be audited and her time sheets should match
them.” The examiner testified that she had never been so
warned. Interestingly, USPTO Director of Security and
Safety J. R. Garland testified at the trial that the turnstile
design was not intended for time keeping purposes. (See
following article.)
Trial evidence and testimony showed that the defendant
had spent some mornings working from her parents’ home
because of difficulties with her pregnancy. She would then
go into the agency in the late mornings or early afternoons
to complete her work. She would claim the full number of
hours she had worked, even though witnesses testified that
she had not received prior approval to telework
(the hoteling program didn’t exist at the time). During the
times in question, the examiner maintained an outstanding
production level in excess of 130 percent, the maximum
percentage for which the USPTO pays examiners.
Other evidence at trial established that some of the
turnstile records did not represent an accurate record of
employees’ time and attendance. Testimony showed that, on
more than one occasion, the examiner was logged in and
working on USPTO computers (something she could not
have done remotely) while turnstile records indicated that
she was not in the buildings. The evidence proved that the
turnstile records, while perhaps useful for security purposes,
could not be relied upon for employee attendance.
The jury recognized that, while the examiner may have
violated an agency policy on telework, her actions were not
criminal. The examiner had indeed given the USPTO every
bit of work it paid her for plus more.
After the verdict, the jury foreman approached the
defendant to say that he and the jury were sorry that the
examiner and her family had to go through the trial.
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Posts: 168
Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #964 on: May 22nd, 2007, 8:54pm »
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That is a pretty disturbing article   Sad.
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