A Volusia County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher was suspended for 30 days without pay after posting a false claim on social media that she contracted coronavirus at work, causing a panic at the telecommunications center, officials said.
Jeanne Meyers, 55, who has been a dispatcher with Sheriff’s Office since 2004, is currently serving her suspension after being notified on July 31, said sheriff’s spokesman Andrew Gant on Monday.
It’s not the first time Meyers has gotten into trouble with command over her use of social media. She was disciplined in 2018 for comments she made on Facebook, records show.
On April 1, Meyers posted on Facebook that she had been infected at work and was quarantined, Internal Affairs investigators said.
Sheriff Mike Chitwood said he believed Meyers did not have the COVID-19 virus and he and his command took Meyers’ action personally because they have been “nothing but transparent” and “I’ve been trying to do our best to keep our workforce safe.”
“False and malicious. It created a panic in dispatch,” Chitwood said in a text message on Monday.
The untruthful message on Facebook upset the staff, the sheriff said.
“It was very stressful,” Chitwood said. “There was no reason to create a panic and create undue stress on those folks out there.”
According to Internal Affairs investigators, Meyers posted that she became sick at work and was frustrated because no one from the dispatch center had reached out to her.
“Not gonna LIE or sugar or sugar coat…KNOWING I’M quarantined till April 11 and NOT ONE co-worker reaching,” Meyers wrote on Facebook, investigators said. “TODAY SUCKS…i WAS infected at work…BLESSED and KNOW LOVED THOSE I LOVE MOST…MATTER MOST, N’uff said.”
When a dispatch supervisor learned of the post, she reached out to Meyers about being infected with COVID-19 in her workplace. Meyers then sent the supervisor an edited version of the post, investigators said.
Investigators said Meyers’ edited version of the Facebook post read: “Not gonna lie…Being home quarantine two weeks making me fell useless and totally defeated…GLAD to know LOVED, Those who’ve reached out and LOVE me AS IS…THANK YOU. KNOW BLESSED…always FAITHFUL…These guys…SO comforting.”
Meyers told investigators she started feeling ill on March 28, contacted Cigna Teleheath the following day, and was told she had flu-like symptoms. She was out of work from March 29 to April 11, the report states.
When Meyers returned to work, her supervisors required a note that showed she was cleared, investigators said.
Meyers was disciplined in 2018 and received a verbal reprimand for posting on Facebook that “the current regime promotes bullies,” and questioned the command staff’s “integrity…dedication…fairness…honesty and compassion,” documents show.
Supervisors believe Meyers made the post in 2018 because she made several errors while working as a dispatcher. The error included sending rescue to the wrong location for a deputy who was injured in a crash, documents state.
Meyers also has been lauded for her work. In March 2019, Meyers was awarded the Commendation Bar by the Sheriff’s Office for being part of the team who helped in the search for two fishermen missing in Lake Monroe.