A Democratic congresswoman was charged Thursday with retaliating against a staff member who lawmakers say exposed her to COVID-19 last summer after working in person while she was ill.
Sasha Georgiades, a Navy veteran who joined Rep. Katie Porter’s office in 2020 as a Wounded Warrior Fellow, told Reason magazine she was relegated to working remotely during the final weeks of her fellowship and that she never heard from her boss again after Porter went on a rampage. .
“Why didn’t you follow office protocol when testing?” Porter, 48, allegedly asked Georgiades in a July 9 text message obtained by the outlet. “It’s really disappointing.”
According to Georgiades, “office protocol” required taking a COVID test the instant one felt even slightly unwell. She told Reason she thought she was “just sore from exercising.”
“I’m terribly sorry,” Georgiades replied apologetically at the time. “You’re right, I should have done better. Just because I felt good at the time doesn’t mean I was.
“Sasha – I can’t allow you back into the office, given that you’re not following office policies,” Porter told her then. “Cody will be in touch [about] have your belongings shipped or delivered to your home, and establish your remote work schedule and responsibilities for your final weeks.
Porter, who was elected to represent California’s 45th district in 2018 and has since been re-elected twice, contracted COVID-19 around the same time – she announced that she had tested positive on July 11 – and became furious, texting Georgiades: “Well you gave me COVID. In 25 months, it took you breaking the rules to make me sick. My children have no one to take care of them.
“She didn’t say a word to me after that,” Georgiades, whose fellowship ended in August, told Reason.
In response to Porter’s claim about her kids, Georgiades claimed the single mom was supposed to be in Washington, DC that week, anyway — away from her three children, who live in California.
“If she thought she was going to spend the rest of her life without her, that’s impossible,” Georgiades said of Porter’s reaction.
In a statement, Porter’s office confirmed the authenticity of the messages, stating, “This former employee has not been terminated. She was a colleague in our office, and weeks before she broke COVID protocol in July, we had already mutually agreed to an end date of August 2022.
“MP Porter was informing her that she would be working from home for the remaining three weeks of her fellowship.”