The Inbox - Liars, Titans and Terror Babies, Oh My!

| O'Neill, Ashley

"Pregnant Woman"

If executives lie and fudge credentials on their resumes, they may find their pantsuits on fire when falsehoods are discovered. For example, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that David Tovar, a top Wal-Mart spokesperson, was terminated recently when a bogus credential was discovered through the company’s promotion-vetting process. According to the Journal, liars and resume-fakers should beware of embellishing their credentials given the increased digitization of transcripts and diplomas. A company named Parchment, for example, houses these credentials in a secure database, allowing employers and employees to substantiate resume claims. Additionally, Pearson PLC has developed a digital platform whereby recipients of licenses and certifications can post “badges” to their profiles on websites like LinkedIn. It’s all in an effort to keep everyone honest, especially those who need a little nudging in that direction.  

The University of Detroit Mercy’s Titans athletic department has seen its share of controversy stemming from a lawsuit filed by former assistant basketball coach, Carlos Briggs. According to The Varsity News, Briggs claimed he was terminated for blowing the whistle on an affair between the athletic director and another assistant coach. A federal judge dismissed the case, asserting that no recognized cause of action arose from his colleagues’ extramarital relationship. Briggs is appealing with the hopes that an oral argument on the merits will give weight to his claims.

When a Texas university fired an employee over choice words he uttered about a Texas congressman, the employee fired back with a lawsuit asserting his right to free speech. It began when Louis Gohmert, Republican congressman from Tyler, Texas, took to the House floor to detail a diabolical plot hatched by terrorists to wreak havoc in the country (which can be seen here). According to Gohmert, foreign nationals were sneaking pregnant women into the U.S. to ensure citizenship for children who would be raised in terrorist cells abroad. A couple of months later, Gohmert’s staff contacted Christian Cutler, the director of art galleries at Stephen F. Austin State University, to ask Cutler to judge an art competition at Gohmert’s hometown high school. Cutler declined, explaining that he felt the congressman was a “fear monger” with whom he did not want to be associated. According to Courthouse News Service, Cutler soon received a strongly-worded letter from Gohmert’s office, copied to the president of the university, stating that Gohmert would not bother him in the future with similar requests. After launching an investigation, the university fired Cutler. Cutler’s suit against the university and its officials asserted that he was fired in retaliation for exercising his free speech. A federal judge denied summary judgment to the defendants and the 5th Circuit affirmed, stating that there was a genuine issue as to whether Cutler’s speech was made as a citizen or in his official capacity as a university employee.