On October 6, 2009, a jury in the District of Columbia decided in favor of D.C. Whistleblower Colin Browne in the case of Browne v. University of District of Columbia. In the suit, Colin Browne alleged that his former employer, the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) violated the D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) when it retaliated against him for raising concerns that Kevin Naiker, the former Director of UDC’s at-risk program, and his supervisors were intentionally misreporting the retention rate of UDC’s program for at-risk students. Despite Browne’s repeated disclosures to management, UDC’s Board of Trustees and even to the President of the University, UDC failed to respond. Browne also discovered that Naiker was unlicensed and did not have a doctorate even though he represented to Browne and others that he was licensed, possessed a doctorate, and would supervise Browne for his licensure. Browne reported Naiker’s misrepresentations of his license status but UDC failed to take action. Instead, Naiker began retaliating against Browne by “auditing” his files, berating him in front of co-workers, passing him up for promotion and ultimately terminating his employment.
The jury awarded Browne compensatory damages based on its finding that UDC violated the D.C. WPA and was liable for negligent hiring and negligent supervision of Naiker. The court will hear evidence on Browne’s economic damages claim on October 22, 2009.
R. Scott Oswald and David Scher, Principals at The Employment Law Group® law firm (www.employmentlawgroup.com), represented Mr. Browne and can be reached at 202-331-2806 and 202-261-2802, respectively.