Sanat Ranganathan Attorney Abuses Coworker

Sanat Ranganathan Attorney
Sanat Ranganathan Attorney

An employee union at Northern Illinois University is requesting harsher sanctions after alleging that a school lawyer verbally reprimanded a cleaning staff member for what it terms a minor infraction. DeKALB – (Shaw Media) Following an incident in which an NIU attorney “verbally berated” a janitor at the university over what they term a minor issue, making her fear for her safety, the janitor and her union think NIU administration should take greater action.

The incident left 13-year NIU janitor Susan Phelps feeling frightened, and she is presently using her sick leave and vacation time because she is unable to work. Sanat Ranganathan, an attorney who serves as the university’s associate general counsel, received a written reprimand, a directive to complete human resources training, and was nevertheless permitted to work.

Ranganathan apologized for the event, claimed that things had been exaggerated, and indicated that he believed the encounter to have been “collegial” in a statement to the Daily Chronicle.

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 963 criticized NIU’s failure to discipline the guy in an open letter delivered to Lisa Freeman, the president of NIU, on June 3. They called it a “important safety concern.”

Sara Dorner, a staff representative, said that permitting the man to come back to work would be sending the incorrect message to the workforce.

We believe NIU ought to have a zero tolerance policy, and we had assumed they did, said Dorner. “This man harassed a female coworker verbally. He chased her twice as she tried to flee. It was made clear by [NIU administration] that this behavior is acceptable. This communicates the idea of a class system.”

According to records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Ranganathan joined NIU in 2015 and is paid $80,000 annually. Phelps declared that Ranganathan should be dismissed.

tissue problem

On April 23, at around 7:30 a.m., Phelps, 52, was cleaning offices on the third floor of Altgeld Hall, the same structure that houses the office of NIU President Lisa Freeman, next to the General Counsel team. Phelps, a 13-year NIU employee, claimed she overheard a man inquiring who was in the room, to which she replied that she was cleaning.

Phelps claimed that a man who was identified as Ranganathan in records received through FOIA requests suddenly charged in.

In a phone interview, Phelps recalled that “this guy started yelling at me and asking how long I’d worked there, how long had my coworkers worked there.” “How dare you tell my employer about the tissue issue we were having?” he asked.

According to records, Phelps claimed Ranganathan was screaming and raising his arms in the air when she put a trash can between them out of fear that he might strike her. Documents also reveal that Phelps spoke with a member of staff in the office in November about someone dropping tissues on the floor and her need for them to tidy up after themselves. Ranganathan was not the individual who left tissues in their workplace in November, according to the records, but he believed Phelps was accusing him of being the dirty employee in April.

Gregory Brady, head of the general counsel office, which offers legal assistance and services to the NIU administration and the board of trustees, sent a formal letter of censure to Ranganathan. Brady criticized Ranganathan for acting in a “unacceptable” and “unexpected” manner for the position he held.

Brady wrote in his letter, “You seem to have difficulties letting go of situations. “The tissue came from November of last year. Yet, in April 2019, you spoke with [Phelps] about it.”

According to Brady, Ranganathan seems preoccupied with unimportant issues, and his actions show that he is unable to “adequately recognise boundaries of personal space of connection with other people,” according to his conduct.

Brady added, “It’s obvious to me that [Phelps] provided you verbal and non-verbal signs that she wanted to end the conversation with you.”

Lawyer’s reaction

Ranganathan said the conversation with Phelps was “collegial” and “pleasant” in a statement to the Daily Chronicle, claiming the two had never met before that day in April. He apologized for what he saw to have been a “miscommunication” and said that the only reason he followed Phelps into the stairs was to find out why she was unhappy.

“I just wanted to add, please urge your colleague to check the appropriate person next time, as it makes me look awful,” Ranganathan yelled across the hallway as he made his way downstairs. “After that, she started to cry and left. I was perplexed as to why, so I decided to follow her around to find out.”

We’re not done, Ranganathan yelled as he “charged” toward her in the stairway, according to Phelps.

Requests for comment from NIU Police authorities were unanswered, but according to police records, Phelps’ assertions were supported by other witnesses.

After the encounter, Phelps claimed she informed Brady and NIU Human Resources about Ranganathan’s actions.

According to NIU Spokesperson Lisa Miner, Ranganathan was told to work from home from May 13 through May 28, when he was permitted to resume his job, while the institution was conducting an inquiry. In order to address his behaviour and behavior, he was also required to take an employee help program with HR, according to Miner.

The letter indicates that he took an 11-day break before returning to campus on May 28. He stayed on school until April 26, then left for a two-week vacation before being told to take a leave of absence pending the probe, according to Miner.

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