Court: ISU worker didn’t prove whistleblower claim

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An appeals court says a former Iowa State University employee was the victim of an outrageous and vicious harassment campaign by his superiors, but he failed to prove that it was because he reported his boss for financial misconduct.

The Iowa Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected a jury’s finding that former ISU College of Engineering marketing employee Dennis Smith was the victim of whistleblower retaliation, and threw out a judge’s landmark $784,000 damage award in his favor.

But the court says Iowa State did intentionally inflict emotional distress on Smith through the actions of his superiors, which included repeated false accusations that Smith was a security threat and unfair attempts to force him out. The court is upholding the jury’s $500,000 award for Smith on that violation.

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