published Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Demoted UTC professor William Harman loses lawsuit

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    Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press A sign marks an entrance to the UTC campus.

The Tennessee Supreme Court threw out a lawsuit Friday from a man who was demoted from department chairman at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to tenured professor.

According to the Supreme Court ruling, William Harman, then chairman 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 whistle-blower 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.

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