NBC5 News investigation: Inside OnTrack Part 2

Medford, Ore. — Only on NBC5 News, we’re continuing our investigation inside OnTrack with the details of an Oregon Tort Claim Notice sent this fall. OnTrack employees are pursuing legal action against the organization, Executive Director Rita Sullivan, and its board. They say they have grounds for a lawsuit, for about a dozen federal and state law violations including official misconduct, hostile work environment and retaliation.

The claim notice from September, details a dozen causes for legal action against OnTrack, its board, and Rita Sullivan.

According to attorneys for the plaintiffs, OnTrack “appears to possess a monopoly, or at least the majority of state contracts, on services provided within the community and to the Oregon court system.”

Plaintiffs claim “upper management has created and maintained a clear and unequivocal ‘hostile work environment’ which retaliates against the employees and staff for merely attempting to perform their ethical and professional duties,” and it continues saying, “Director Sullivan creates and maintains this ‘hostile work environment’ by acting and speaking in highly inappropriate, offensive, and unlawful ways”.

Among the allegations, are claims of OnTrack; failing to hire sufficient staff– and in turn employees say they’ve been unable to attend medical appointments, stay home when they’re sick, or attend funerals, or children’s extracurricular activities, failing to pay overtime, and forcing employees to fraudulently modify their time cards. They also cited inappropriate behavior by management that includes:

  •  incessant calling and texting, while on the clock and off.
  • yelling and cursing in private and in public
  • kicking items close to employees, and slamming a hand against items close to the head of employees while yelling at them.

The notice continues with claims that employees were encouraged to fake it for state tours, including, “preventing staff and clients from leaving the facility for the entirety of the day.”

“Directing staff, clients, and their children to abstain from eating healthful meals and instead, to eat pre-packaged, “easy to clean” food,” and, “directing staff and clients to prevent the children of clients from playing outdoors unless the tour is about to arrive, in which case the staff are directed to make the children ‘run through the sprinklers and look happy.'”

The claim also cites that senior employees were encouraged “to appropriate Christmas gifts donated to OnTrack before the gifts can be disseminated to the children of OnTrack clients.”

Clayton Lance, an attorney for the plaintiffs says since the September notice, the claim has been modified to include additional plaintiffs, and says despite personnel changes– Rita Sullivan was placed on leave in November– they have not “observed substantial, if any, change in the core organizational and personnel actions”, he continues on, saying they will file a suit at the appropriate time.

As of now, no lawsuits have been filed. We attempted to reach out to all parties involved in the notice, but our calls have not been returned. Meanwhile, OnTrack provided the November follow-up report from the Oregon Health Authority mentioned in our Friday report, we’re reviewing that now and will bring you the results Wednesday.

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