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Whistleblower Says ALRB Forced Her Out of Job
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 7 years ago on
April 7, 2017

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A whistleblower who used to work for the Agricultural Labor Relations Board claims she lost her job, a victim of retaliation.

“Because I exercised my first amendment rights, they bullied me out of the ALRB,” Leslie Soule exclusively told GV Wire.

Soule worked for three years at the ALRB as a legal typist. But she tells GV Wire that when she spoke out publicly at the confirmation hearing for a board nominee, the ALRB got rid of her.

In a June 20, 2016, the Senate Rules Committee voted 3-2 to send Genevieve Shiroma’s re-confirmation to the full senate floor. Soule attended the hearing and let her thoughts known:

“Genevieve has also thrown her unwavering support behind (fellow ALRB member) Cathryn Rivera-Hernandez, the board member who is trying to fire me for what I know. Together, Genevieve and Cathryn hold the majority vote in regards to the three-member board, giving them an unchecked power over any case that comes before the board itself. The two have been in cahoots for nearly a decade.”

Soule explains why she risked her job speaking out at the hearing. “I was going in there just to show how state workers have been treated badly also, not just farm workers. (Shiroma) puts on this facade of being a really nice person, but she’s really not.”

Working for both Shiroma and board member Cathryn Rivera-Hernandez, Soule had negative experiences with both. “Cathryn is a horrible person. If you even say good morning to Cathryn, and you’re not of her social level or she doesn’t think you are, she’ll give you a dirty look. Because, she just looks down on everybody. She’s a tyrant, really.”

GV Wire asked Rivera-Hernandez for a response. An ALRB spokesman declined on her behalf.

At the time of speaking out against Shiroma, Soule was on stress leave. After speaking out, Soule says she was placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation by the state Department of Justice.

Soule says she was accused of giving confidential information to attorney Anthony Raimondo, who represents an employee at Gerawan Farming. Gerawan has been in a long-term battle with the ALRB with multiple lawsuits tying up the court system.

It’s an accusation Soule flat out denies. “Go ahead and search my e-mails, you’re not going to find anything. I haven’t done anything. They didn’t find anything.”

Raimondo confirms with GV Wire that he never received any improper information from Soule. The state Department of Justice would not confirm or deny such an investigation took place.

“I feel like they’ve been attacking me this whole time. What am I supposed to do? Just roll over and die?” Soule opined.

Two months after speaking out at the ALRB, Soule quit her job instead of trying to fight termination. Today, Soule is getting by working in the food services industry.

 

Contact David Taub

Phone: 559-492-4037 / e-mail

This story was not subject to the approval of Granville Homes.

 

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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