Universities and Other Institutions of Higher Learning

Journal of Law and Education, Winter 2018 | Go to article overview

Universities and Other Institutions of Higher Learning


Faculty Administration

Adjunct professor sued college for sexual orientation discrimination. A college denied an openly lesbian professor full time employment and elected not to renew her contract after five years. She filed a complaint with the state Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) and sued. The district court held that sexual orientation was not protected under the Constitution and granted the school's motion that she failed to state a claim. The professor appealed. Held: For the professor. The court held that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination and the professor did not conform to traditional gender norms. The district court improperly dismissed her claim because she did state a claim that could be granted relief. The appellate court reversed the lower court's decision, remanding it back for review under their interpretation. Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, 853 F. 3d 339 (7th Cir. 2017). '

University employee sued university board of supervisors individually alleging acts of retaliation and destruction of evidence. Employee was granted leave from work due to depression and a panic disorder. The employee alleged that the human resources board then worked to retaliate against her and simultaneously destroyed evidence of the retaliation. Held: For the university board of supervisors. The employee failed to provide supporting evidence for both claims. The retaliation claim was dismissed because it was not supported by the employee's evidence. The destruction of evidence claim was dismissed because the court found that the university did not have a duty to preserve faculty meeting notes because they did not qualify as university records. The employee showed no injury and was not entitled to damages. Herster v. Bd. of Supervisors of Louisiana State U., 221 F. Supp. 3d 791 (M.D. La. 2016).

Employees and former employees appealed granted dismissal order filed by university medical center individually and on behalf of similarly situated persons. Employees sued medical center for negligence and breach of contract after a data breach resulted in the leak of sensitive personal information. The medical center filed a preliminary objection arguing that the appellants lacked standing and the claims failed as a matter of law. Held: For university medical center. The court affirmed the trial court's holding that there was no duty imposed on the medical center. The only duty the general assembly chose to impose was n_72.tification of data breach and the center complied. The court also ruled that there was no implied contract because there were no indications that the medical center intended to enter into a contract and there was no consideration to support such a claim. Dittman v. UPMC, 154 A.3d 318 (Pa. Super. 2017).

Employee sued university alleging wrongful termination and conversion. The employee claimed that the wrongful termination was retaliation for his repeated protests of research misconduct. The employee also sued the university for conversion after he was denied access to research materials, but the university asserted that the employee's contract expired. The university filed for dismissal. Held: For the university. The court ruled that the provisions regarding research misconduct did not provide a clear public policy to support a tort claim for wrongful termination and stated that the employee did not follow the protocol for research misconduct claims. The court found that the university owned the research materials at issue and that they were not converted. Yuan v. Johns Hopkins U., 157 A. 3d 254 (Md. 2017).

Employee sued sports agency and agency supervisor for negligent supervision, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence per se. The employee was sexually harassed by her supervisor and she stopped accepting work assignments once he offered to pay her for sex and she suffered emotional distress. …

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