For background I am Detention Supervisor In a small max security detention center. This means I am not part of the hiring process but am in charge of whoever is hired. Recently our administrator brought on some 18 year old kid, which is already bad (In the past employees under the age of 20 last about 2 months before committing a gross safety or civil rights violation and getting fired/indicted.) Normally a wet behind the ears kid with an attitude is a problem that corrects itself, but our administrator has been acting very strange, screening for him and blocking any disciplinary actions I try to take concerning his general misconduct, inability to perform required tasks, and refusal to accept correction or instruction. So I started digging and discovered he is a family friend's kid of our administrator and was illegally hired. Our hiring process involves a strict board including a representative from local law enforcement, the administrator, and a rep from our legal department. This strict board interview is followed by a written test and a comprehensive state and federal legal background check. Finally, the pool of applicants are scored based on how they did and then hired based on that score. This guy did literally none of that, he just shook his family friend's hand and walked on the job with zero qualifications, interviewing, or background check. The board denied several far more prospective applicants and this guy got hired basically as a walk-in by circumventing the board.

So, what does somebody do when their boss is creating such a situation? Prior to this job I was a Marine and our general response was requesting mast to speak to a superior above the one creating the situation. In this case my administrator IS the highest echelon in our command and I'm at a loss how to respond in a manner that doesn't get me in trouble for "bullying" the boss's pet.

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    You can't teach the kid? Everyone starts somewhere. I've had legitmately hired people turn into disasters.
    – Kilisi
    Mar 11, 2018 at 1:26
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    Presumably, there is a HR department or other independent group. In this case, if you don't have an HR department then the legal department would seem a place you could go to ask for clarification on how to handle it which may well be just telling them. This is similar to going to the Inspector General in the military. The retaliation you've received is also likely illegal and something you could discuss with the legal department. You should keep records of the incidents. Mar 11, 2018 at 2:45
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    Employees objectivley failing to demonstrate the maturity to perform a job isnt age discrimination. This isnt an office at a quiet firm where a mistake is just lost time and annoyance. This is a Max security prison, mistakes result in injury, security threats to the public, civil rights deprivation, and even death. The last 20 something who was fired here was fired for refusing perscription medication to inmates "he didnt like." The one before that left a box cutter and a crowbar in a cell. The one before that was caught smuggling contraband into the facility to make side money.
    – TCAT117
    Mar 11, 2018 at 17:17
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    FYI - Governmental corruption is EXACTLY the reason the 1st Amendment includes explicit protections for the press. Time for a letter to the local paper / TV stations. FWIW: National Public Radio affiliates "DREAM" of getting stories like this one. These are the types of stories that get regional reporters their ticket to their state's main studios. Mar 11, 2018 at 17:23
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    @Kyralessa, Only a few States protect younger workers from age discrimination. The Federal government doesn't and most States don't. In any case, the OP was stating his personal opinion, he didn't seem to have acted on that opinion. Furthermore, the OP is anonymous on here and we do not know if he says the same thing to young guards when he is at work. Mar 11, 2018 at 19:17

3 Answers 3


Get a consultation with an outside lawyer that specializes in whistleblowers

Besides that, protect yourself by documenting everything. Anytime you ask for permission to take corrective action and it is denied, make sure it is denied by email, and preferably either cc or bcc someone you trust in your legal or HR department whenever that happens. Same thing with documenting anything bad the new hire does. Usually here I would also recommend that if you aren't sure you can trust anyone, you can download the emails to a personal device just in case, but when you work for the government the penalty for doing that can go beyond just being fired so I would recommend against that in this case.

I've considered trying to think of more suggestions, but I really can't claim to know enough about your unique situation to provide useful advice. You need to talk to a lawyer who is working for you, not your employer, to get a real idea of what your options are.


I would recommend writing a letter to your administrator listing the new employees short comings, don't mention their hiring process.

Then get on with your job and let the situation solve itself naturally. This story has several potential unfortunate endings, but given your position and the nature of your problem, this is one battle you can not win, but if you are smart you can survive it. You can cover your ar$e, so write the letter. Best of luck.. T

  • His administrator is the one who circumvented the hiring process to get this kid in the door... What do you think will be accomplished by pointing out the shortcomings when said admin has already shown a tendency to protect the kid from disciplinary action?
    – Steve-O
    Mar 11, 2018 at 21:45
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    @Steve-O - I think Talbot is suggesting that TCAT117 protect him/herself by having sent something in writing.
    – komodosp
    Mar 12, 2018 at 13:26

Based on your description, I'd let it play out. It sounds like even if he had been taken through the formal process he would not have qualified for the position. Due to the personal relationship between this person and your supervisor, I'd be careful to only raise concerns to the extent this person interferes with your official responsibilities or poses workplace safety issues. If there are significant concerns make sure you report that. If it's not addressed or ignored by the organization, or if you get punished for reporting those items, there are likely whistleblower and possibly Equal Opportunity Employment laws that may protect you.

  • What about the concern that he'll commit some major rights abuse or put others in dangerous positions? This isn't an office job, he has real responsibilities.
    – Allison
    Mar 11, 2018 at 5:29
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    "Let it play out" is often good advice, but in this case the incompetent hire is likely to expose the facility to serious liabilities, and the incompetent hire is protected by nepotism from all consequences of his actions -- so, as the person responsible for training the incompetent hire, TCAT117 is in danger of being falsely blamed. The problem is not how best to serve his employer, but how best to protect himself against getting fired, sued, or indicted. Mar 11, 2018 at 7:41

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