APPEALS COURT: ISU Harassment Case

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The Iowa Court of Appeals has rejected part of a jury’s verdict in the case of a former Iowa State University employee, but it upheld that Dennis Smith was a victim of harassment by his superiors.

Smith worked for Iowa State University’s College of Engineering from 2002 to 2008.

The court say Smith’s superiors intentionally inflicted emotional distress. That included repeated false accusations that Smith was a security threat and unfair attempts to force him out.

The court says Smith’s claim as a whistleblower is not valid because the actions taken against him were not causal in nature. The harassment began before, and continued after, he reported it.

The jury’s decision on the whistleblowing count was reversed and the award, $784,027, is forfeit.

The court upheld the jury’s $500,000 award for Smith for ISU’s intentional infliction of emotional distress.