Research Notes

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Joe Huffman

On June 3, 2005 I was fired from PNNL.

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bulletWashington is an "at will" employment state.  They didn't need ANY reason to fire me.
bulletI allowed my daughter and wife to use the company laptop.
bulletI immediately admitted to this infraction when asked asked if anyone other than myself could have used the computer.
bulletThey refused to state any specific allegations of wrongdoing--other than allowing my daughter and wife to use the company laptop computer to browse the web. 
bulletThey refused to allow me to defend myself against any allegations ("That discussion would not be productive.").


Based on the facts below, someone (user of the computer named WD31448.pnl.gov) received a "tip" from someone and took a disliking to my gun owner rights and shooting event activities.  The next day they found someone to report me too--PUCK.pnl.gov.  Together the two of them went looking, for days, for something to be used against me as an employee of PNNL.  Ultimately they found enough that they could thinly justify a full scale investigation of me which allowed them to examine my work computers.  That lead to finding the one thing I had done wrong--I let my wife and daughter use the company laptop to browse the web and use Microsoft Word.  They found other things which looked suspicious but were valid, or had innocent explanations.  They did not want any explanations, did not ask any of my co-workers if those activities were valid for the projects I was working on, and used those suspicious things and items they found questionable on my blog as if they were in fact inappropriate activities in their efforts to eliminate me from the company.

Questions (Food for "conspiracy theorists")

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The details are:

bulletWednesday, May 4 2005 First Contact (WD31448 looks at my blog and stops when they see a picture of me with a pistol in a holster.)
bulletFriday, May 6 2005 Reinforcements Arrive (The main investigator, PUCK, arrives on the scene)
bulletMonday, May 9 2005 Systematic Investigation (PUCK hits most of my blog, and investigates my daughter Xenia's Live Journal and other blogs I link to)
bulletTuesday, May 10 2005 SPEEDY Shows Up and looks for "clearance" and "classified" keywords.
bulletWednesday, May 11 2005 PUCK Checks in For a Quick Look.
bulletMonday, May 16 -> Tuesday Morning May 17 2005 Preparing to "Touch Base"
bulletTuesday Afternoon, May 17 2005 Touching Base (I am first told of the investigation.)
bulletTuesday Afternoon, May 17 2005 After Touching Base (the web site investigation continues)
bulletWednesday, May 18 2005 PUCK Goes Into High Gear (a large number of blog postings are reviewed)
bulletWednesday, May 18 2005 I Get Two Computers Back
bulletThursday, May 19 2005 Still Looking for Something (someone makes a late night visit to pictures on my blog and PUCK visits my blog frequently)
bulletThursday, May 19 2005 Dead Computer (my main work computer won't boot)
bulletFriday, May 20 2005 I Get a WP # But No Word on the Hard Drives
bulletFriday, May 20 2005 PUCK Slows Down (the intensity of the web site visits decreases)
bulletMonday, May 23 2005 I Can Work Again
bulletMay 23 through May 27, 2005 the website investigation continues again at a quicker pace
bulletTuesday/Wednesday, May 24/25 2005 All the Computers
bulletThursday, May 26 2005 Talk with Human Resources
bulletTuesday, May 31 through Friday, June 3 2005 Waiting for an Answer
bulletFriday, June 3 2005 Fired

My web logs from which I derived a lot of the story.

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Last update: January 25, 2007