Utah College Whistleblowers File Lawsuit
SALT LAKE CITY
Two women who uncovered spending problems at Salt Lake Community College are now suing the school, claiming they were victims of retaliation.
Christine Martin and Nancy Grissetti filed the civil lawsuit, seeking compensatory damages, including back pay and an injunction to end any further alleged retaliation.
Martin claims to have been demoted and then restricted in her abilities to perform her job duties. Grissetti left the college in order to avoid a hostile work environment, the lawsuit states.
This is a second attempt by Martin and Grissetti to seek damages from the college. An earlier lawsuit filed in federal court was dismissed.
A college spokesman declined comment on pending litigation.
While both were employed at the college, Martin and Grissetti worked for Custom Fit, a Utah College of Applied Technology program administered by the school.
In October and December 2002, Martin and Grissetti determined and reported to UCAT president Dr. Greg Fitch that SLCC had used Custom Fit funds to fund other programs. Their complaint resulted in an audit, which in May 2003 showed that in fact $158,521 had been misappropriated at SLCC.
The audit also revealed that some potential clients were turned away, supposedly due to a lack of funds.
SLCC was ordered to repay the funds to the state over a three-year period through reduced legislative funding to the college.
College president Dr. H. Lynn Cundiff resigned following the audit, although he stated his decision was unrelated to the financial scandal.
In court documents, Martin and Grissetti claim that in the wake of their actions they were the subject of retaliation and hostility from SLCC employees.
Martin was demoted from her position in the Custom Fit program and then required to teach at least one program without any compensation, court documents state.
She and Grissetti also claim that when assigned other duties, they were given incomplete instructions and access to program guidelines, “leaving them to feel they were being set up for failure,” the lawsuit alleges.
— Associated Press
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