The Tennessee Supreme Court threw out a lawsuit Friday from a man who was demoted from department chair at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to tenured professor.
According to the Supreme Court ruling, William Harman, then chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, was demoted in 2008 after refusing to change his evaluation of an assistant professor.
In a review, Harman had said Talia Welsh’s was unprofessional, citing an extramarital affair with an undergraduate student, falsified reports and lies about papers she said she had published.
Dean Herbert Burhenn, Harman’s boss, told him to remove the negative review, and when Harman refused, Burhenn demoted him.
Tennessee’s whistleblower law protects employees from being fired if they refuse to perform illegal activities. Because Harman wasn’t fired, the Supreme Court ruled that he was not protected.