'A Downward Spiral'
We can’t make it up!
Mr Rogers was a Lawyer by training and the Director of Labour Relations for a City. Ms Ray was the Chief of Staff for the City. Mr Rogers and Ms Ray had a romantic relationship that lasted 2 years. Mr Rogers’ inability to accept the end of the relationship began his downward spiral.
After two years, Ms Ray decided to end her relationship with Mr Rogers because she could not see a future. Mr Rogers refused to accept the fact that the relationship was over and the reasons given for the breakup.
A while later, Mr Rogers and Ms Ray went to a resort for a preplanned vacation together. Ms Ray reiterated that she wished to end the relationship and eventually Mr Rogers seemed to agree.
A few days later, Mr Rogers called Ms Ray at 4:00 a.m. very emotional and inconsolable. He told her that he could not envision a life without her. She repeated that she did not love him and clearly communicated to him that the romantic relationship was over. She refused his request to reconsider her decision. She told him that they could be friends.
Shortly after, Mr Rogers visited Ms Ray’s parents’ home, uninvited. He discussed their relationship with Ms Ray’s mother and asked her to intervene. Ms Ray’s mother refused, say- ing she had no intention of interfering in her grown child’s life. Mr Rogers’ communication at the time showed clearly that he understood the relationship was over.
Mr Rogers started going to Ms Ray’s home uninvited. He knocked on her front door and when there was no answer, went through the alley and to her back door to knock.
Mr Rogers began parking his car next to Ms Ray’s in the parking lot at work, which he had never done before. He also started standing on a path outside Ms Ray’s office window and looked in at her. When Ms Ray first saw him, she waved nervously. She eventually started hiding in the corner by her computer. She saw him outside between five and 10 times.
Ms Ray spoke to Mr Rogers in the late summer and stated again that their romantic relationship was over. She said his behavior was unacceptable and that it was unsettling. Ms Ray thought that by the end of the meeting Mr Rogers had accepted the message and that they would not see each other even as friends.
Mr Rogers repeatedly asked Ms Ray to attend events with him and to travel with him throughout the Summer and Fall.
The wording in his emails clearly showed that he knew she might not welcome the repeated offers. Mr Rogers deliberately refused to accept that the relationship was terminated and to respect Ms Ray’s expressed wishes to be left alone.
Ms Ray’s contract was up for renewal in the Fall and Mr Rogers decided to personally handle the work even though he was in a clear conflict of interest.
Mr Rogers made an appointment with the Mayor and discussed the termination of his relationship with Ms Ray. He told the Mayor he had strong feelings for Ms Ray, was still in love, and that he could provide a good standard of living for Ms Ray. They discussed Ms Ray’s contract. Mr Rogers told the Mayor Ms Ray did not want to see him anymore and that he thought it might be due to work related pressures.
Word of the meeting got back to Ms Ray who was upset that her personal life would be discussed in this manner.
Ms Ray met with Mr Rogers in a pub- lic setting because she was growing more concerned with his behavior. She was very angry because he had spoken to her parents, and the Mayor about their relationship.
Ms Ray told Mr Rogers she was alarmed at his behavior, including that he was standing beside her office window and was parking his car near hers. Mr Rogers acknowledged that he was moving his car to serve as a reminder that he was ‘always there.’
Mr Rogers showed Ms Ray one of the cards she had given him while they were in the relationship. Ms Ray snapped it out of his hand and tore it up in little pieces saying ‘you need a visual.’
Mr Rogers said that he was looking for property and that he hoped she might think about moving in. He said that he was prepared to marry her as he had ‘put in a lot of time.’ Ms Ray said she had moved on with her life and that he was going to have to move on with his.
Mr Rogers continued his uninvited visits to Ms Ray’s house, the parking, the watching, the calls to her family, and the email invitations.
Mr Rogers told Ms Ray that he was in counseling and suggested a meeting with Ms Ray in order to gain closure. She agreed to meet in her office on those grounds. Mr Rogers arrived and told Ms Ray that there was only one ‘soul mate’ for every person and she was his. Ms Ray stopped him and asked him to leave. He apologized and asked to hold her hand, which she refused. Mr Rogers told Ms Ray he was prepared to marry her. She re- fused. He started to recite a poem to her. She ripped up the poem. She told him she was seeing Mr Zastre (a coworker).
Mr Rogers became abusive, called her a thief, a liar and a coward. She asked him to leave and he did.
Mr Rogers asked to be excluded from any meetings that involved Ms Ray. His boss said that was not possible in all circumstances and told Mr Rogers the expectation was that he would be professional in his dealings with Ms Ray.
Mr Rogers got in touch Mr Zastre’s ex-wife who was extremely upset and was planning to go to the media with information about Mr Zastre and Ms Ray. Mr Rogers provided her some more information, including a derogatory comment Ms Ray had once made regarding the Mayor.
Mr Rogers asked to meet with the Mayor when the media situation became known. He advised that the Mayor ‘get ahead’ of the upcoming article and terminate Ms Ray. The Mayor had no intention of doing such a thing.
Finally, Mr Rogers was driving down the street where Ms Ray and Mr Zastre lived and saw Mr Zastre walking. He followed behind closely while revving his engine. Mr Zastre tried to cross the street and Mr Rogers accelerated towards him at a high rate of speed. He had to jump back to avoid injury.
Mr Rogers was criminally charged with a number of offenses, which were ultimately dropped in exchange for an apology and a peace bond. Mr Rogers later denied that he meant any of the statements made at the proceedings. Further, he said that he had not meant the apology. He was suspended pending an investigation. The investigation concluded that there had been a violation of the workplace harassment policies, an abuse of authority, a betrayal of trust, a demon- strated conflict of interest, and clear evidence of a retaliation on Ms Ray.
Mr Rogers was terminated with cause. He filed a case of wrongful dismissal.
After a thorough review of all the evidence, the Court found it was appropriate for the City to terminate Mr Rogers’s employment for cause and his claim was dismissed.