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Denial of teacher's tenure leads to wrongful termination lawsuit

Beneath the surface, many businesses may have dealings that they do not want exposed to the public. Some employees who discover these findings speak out to have the unethical activity stopped. This may prompt the employer to fire the worker to silence him or her. Recently, a former professor for Texas Southern University claimed that he was the victim of a wrongful termination.

According to his federal court complaint, the man began his career in the Navy and then worked in a number of positions, including in power plants and as a naval flight instructor, which ultimately gave him the credentials he needed to become a teacher. He claims that he continued to work with the aviation program of the university and finally became an assistant professor. During his employment, he purportedly discovered that funds which should have been going to the airway science equipment upgrades and their maintenance was going elsewhere. He reported the findings to his superiors.

The man allegedly discovered that the head of the Transportation Studies Department was taking the funds and using them to apply to foreign exchange students who were working on side projects which had nothing to do with the main program. The plaintiff claims that even though he reported the issues twice, nothing was ever done about it. After his reports, he applied for tenure, which was denied even though he asserts that he had a long employment history. Although he appealed the decision and was approved for tenure by an appeals committee, the former teacher asserts that the university still decided to move against the decision and terminate him.

The former teacher has now filed a claim against a number of the officials he says were involved, as well as board members of the Texas Southern University. He believes that he suffered a wrongful termination because he spoke out about the misallocation of funds. The plaintiff claims that his reputation has been tarnished and is asking for damages, accompanying legal fees and other remedies as decided by the court. It can be a difficult situation for employees to speak out about conduct that appears to be unethical. Employees who report a situation and unjustly lose their position may choose to file a claim against their employer in an effort to be reimbursed for lost wages, damages and be returned to work in appropriate cases.

Source: The Southeast Texas Record, "Former Texas Southern University professor says he was denied tenure after reporting misallocation of funds", Kelly Holleran, Aug. 13, 2014

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