Georgia Southern Target of Suit; Ex-Safety Engineer Says Whistle-Blowing at University Led to His 2002 Dismissal

Article excerpt

Byline: BRANDON LARRABEE, The Times-Union

ATLANTA -- A former Georgia Southern University employee who says he was wrongfully fired for blowing the whistle on the school's violations of environmental standards has filed suit against the university.

The lawsuit said the violations exposed students, faculty and other university employees to hazardous materials.

Eugene Anderson, who worked as a safety engineer at Georgia Southern until he was terminated almost two years ago, said he repeatedly warned university administrators and other officials about the environmental and safety violations.

In the lawsuit, filed Thursday in Fulton County Superior Court, Anderson says his First Amendment rights to free speech and his rights to a hearing were violated by the university's decision to fire him. Anderson also says the school violated state whistle-blower protections and right-to-know laws, according to Nancy Abudu, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union representing Anderson.

In addition to the university, President Bruce Grube and two other current and former university officials are named in the lawsuit, Abudu said.

Anderson is asking the court to order that he be reinstated, get any back pay he deserves for the time he was terminated, and receive punitive damages for the pain and suffering he endured because he was fired.

Abudu said that Anderson began complaining about the environmental conditions at least by 2001 and 2002. …