Appeals court overturns part of Iowa State whistleblower verdict
- The Iowa Court of Appeals overturned part of the jury's verdict in an Iowa State University whistleblower case that awarded more than $1.25 million in damages; former employee Dennis L. Smith will still receive $500,000 for emotional distress.
- The court agreed that Smith was subjected by his superiors to harassment beyond "all bounds usually tolerated by decent society," but the state's whistleblower law requires any retaliatory mistreatment to be the result of a complaint filed with a public official.
- Smith did file several abuse of authority and financial misconduct complaints with ISU President Gregory Geoffroy in accordance with university policy, but he couldn't prove that the harassment was the result of those complaints since it began between his early complaints and those filed with the university.
From the article:
... Smith’s troubles began after he reported abuse of authority and financial misconduct by Pamela Reinig, director of the marketing department in the College of Engineering. Reinig pleaded guilty to first-degree theft in 2009, and was sentenced to two years’ probation for stealing more than $10,000 from the school. ...
... The court said Reinig told Eric Dieterle, one of Smith’s co-workers, that Smith was a “cancer” and a “very real threat to personal safety.” Reinig reported Smith to the ISU Department of Public Safety at least nine times. She discussed with police the weapons and strategies she might need to defend herself if Smith ever threatened her. As a result, police investigated Smith in 2007 and 2008, court documents said. ...
- Des Moines Register Read More
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