Judge Rules in Favor of Fired Port Authority Employee

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Frances Arriola was fired from the port in December 2012, but appealed her case with the Civil Service Commission and won.

Guam – A small victory for the first of seven employees who were fired from the Port Authority over allegations that they were involved in a scheme to defraud the government.

Judge James Canto has ruled in favor of Frances Arriola, who was fired for allegedly falsifying workers comp documents for former Port Marketing Manager Bernadette Sterne Meno.

 

Judge James Canto yesterday issued a decision and order in a case that involved Frances Arriola, an employee who was fired from the Port Authority of Guam back in December 2012.

Arriola was among the seven total employees fired for allegedly participating in a scheme to defraud the government. At the center of that alleged scheme was Bernadette Sterne Meno, the former Port Marketing Manager who filed worker’s compensation documents when she slipped and fell at a Port bathroom.

In May 2013, the Civil Service Commission ruled in favor of Arriola after hearing arguments from both sides about the violation of the 60-day rule.

The rule applies to the issuance of adverse actions and states that GovGuam management must take action against an employee within 60 days of learning of the employee’s misconduct. Anything after 60 days is a violation of law.

Judge Canto agreed with the CSC that the trigger date for when management knew about Arriola’s alleged misconduct was on October 18, 2012.

Arriola was fired on December 18, 2012, 61 days after Port management became aware of the alleged wrongdoing. Judge Canto cited evidence that was also presented to the CSC that an email to Port management that proves that management became aware of the alleged actions on October 18, 2012.

“The court finds that this constitutes substantial evidence which reasonable minds might accept as adequate to support the conclusion that management knew or should have known the facts or events which formed the basis for the adverse action against Arriola in this matter on October 18, 2012,” Judge Canto ruled.

While Judge Canto denied the Port’s petition for judicial review, he did not make a ruling on Arriola’s back pay.

An evidentiary hearing on her back pay has been scheduled for July 15 at 10 am.

You can read the judge’s decision by clicking on the file below.

 

 

 

Decision_and_Order__SP0124-13_1.pdf