San Antonio Employment Law Blog

Ex-finance VP for Lamar University sues for wrongful termination

When your job is to assess a situation and make recommendations for the future, you expect your superiors to at least be open-minded to what you present to them — even if it is critical of how things have been handled in the past. Unfortunately, some employers only want to hear good news, and writing a negative report about a company could leave you out of a job.

This is exactly what one woman claims happened to her not long ago in Texas. The woman is the former vice president of finance for Lamar University in Beaumont. She says that after she presented the university with a negative report on the past year’s spending, which included $66,000 worth of gift cards and illegal activity, she was forced out of her job.

According to the wrongful termination lawsuit she filed in Jefferson County District Court, after the report was leaked to the media, she was passed over for promotions and eventually told to resign. The report also contained information that the school had misappropriated funds.

The president of the university, she argues in her lawsuit, became angry because he thought she leaked the information to the press. She said the president then restricted her work and refused to promote her. Finally, the vice chancellor of the Texas State University System told her she could resign with a severance package or be fired.

The woman took medical leave because of the stress she was under, but the university refused to allow her to return as an employee.

Although we would like to think this situation is unique, it certainly is not. As this case clearly shows, however, when a person has been wrongfully forced out of a job, he or she can hold the employer accountable through a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Source: The Southeast Texas Record, “Wrongful termination suit against Lamar University stayed,” David Yates, Aug. 8, 2013

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