The employees, paralegals making $60,000 to $80,000 a year, were idle with full knowledge of their immediate bosses and multiple layers of managers and judges who “sat on their hands” waiting for work to give them, a year-long probe by the Commerce Department inspector general’s office uncovered.
The underworked paralegals did little as a backlog of appeals of patent examinations that many of them were hired to help process doubled from about 12,500 in fiscal 2009 to 25,300 last year.
The employees also worked from home. The Patent and Trademark Office set an early example for other federal agencies years ago when it encouraged employees to telework. But the inspector general found that for paralegals in the appeals office, working from home was a green light to abuse the privilege by doing laundry, washing dishes, reading books and a host of other personal activities.
Hey, I've been doing that for years! Where's my check?