UConn professor gets job back, receives more than $700,000 from university

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Jul. 9—STORRS/ MANSFIELD — After a yearslong case, a University of Connecticut professor is getting back his job as well as a sizable amount of money, according to a decision memorandum from the court issued on June 30.

The case traces its roots back to 2011.

The plaintiff in the case Luke Weinstein served as the director of the innovation accelerator and as an assistant professor in residence (APIR) in the UConn School of Business’ Management Department. He held those positions from January 2007 to August 22, 2011.

The defendants in this case are UConn and Paul Christopher Earley, the former dean of the School of Business from 2008-2011.

Weinstein sued UConn in Hartford Superior Court for not renewing his appointment as an assistant professor in residence in the Management Department of the UConn School of Business on May 20, 2011.

Weinstein sought reinstatement to the position, back wages, reestablishment of employee benefits as well as attorney’s fees and costs.

Since 2011, this case has been the subject of multiple decisions of the federal district court for the District of Connecticut, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the Connecticut Superior Court.

The defendant has stated several reasons for why Weinstein was not reappointed. There was a hiring freeze in the spring of 2011, which resulted in hiring being limited to positions of critical need. The courses Weinstein was tentatively scheduled to teach in the 2011-12 academic year were not required courses, as they were electives. They were also not as high of a priority and could be taught by other members of the faculty.

Other reasons why the defense claimed that Weinstein was not reappointed were that there was no long-term funding for his salary.

Hartford Superior Court ruled that the defendant’s reasons for not reappointing Weinstein were not credible.

“Dean Earley’s lack of credibility throughout his testimony, particularly relating to the reasons he failed to reappoint the plaintiff as an APIR for the 2011-12 academic year, is circumstantial evidence that the reappointment was in retaliation for whistleblowing,” the court said in a memorandum regarding their decision on the case.

The court also stated in the memorandum that Earley’s testimony was evasive, inconsistent and not truthful.

They ruled that the real reason for the plaintiff’s non-reappointment was retaliation for Weinstein’s whistleblowing activities.

Between November 10, 2010, and December 2, 2010, Earley received information that Weinstein had reported his suspected violations to the Office of University Compliance.

Specifically, Weinstein filed a complaint of nepotism against Earley. He claimed that Earley made decisions that benefitted his wife Elaine Mosakowski, a tenured business professor at the school.

The court ruled that Weinstein was wrongful-

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ly terminated and should be reinstated as an assistant professor in residence in the management department of the UConn School of Business.

Hartford Superior Court also ruled that the university pay Weinstein back wages and benefits for five years, which includes academic year 2011-12 through academic year 2015-16.

The total amount to be awarded to Weinstein was in the amount of $735,867. The plaintiff is also required to pay Weinstein’s attorney fees.

UConn noted in a statement that they were disappointed in the ruling of the case.

“The university is disappointed with this decision on the plaintiff’s one remaining claim, particularly given the long procedural history in this matter, which includes dismissal of several other claims asserted by the plaintiff,” the university said in a statement.



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