The spokesman for Benedictine University was fired just one day after the first court hearing for the “discrimination” lawsuit he filed against the university.
Elliot Peppers, the spokesman for Benedictine University, claims he was fired just one day after the first court hearing for the lawsuit he filed against the university for discrimination, “civil rights violations,” and a “hostile work environment.”
According to Peppers, the university sent him an email on June 22nd during his vacation, telling him that “his position” had been “eliminated.”
Peppers filed the lawsuit on May 5th on the grounds that there has been a “hostile work environment” since 2013 when he as well as his coworkers were subjected to “frequent, disruptive loud tirades,” where someone allegedly used “crude, offensive language.” Peppers said that when he tried to complain about these incidents, they were mostly neglected.
Peppers then said that in 2016, the same person at the university “harangued the group with aggressive, verbally abusive, demeaning, vulgar and derisive language for a length period of time.” He said that this incident as well was left unattended to.
Jill Wilis, Peppers’ attorney, commented on Peppers’ firing, saying: “Mr. Peppers anticipated they would go down this road. A lot of employees won’t fight because they do fear retaliation and job loss, but he spent quite a bit of time trying to resolve the issues internally.”
“The (university) leadership indicated they would conduct an investigation, but he never got any feedback or any results or plans for resolution of the hostile work environment and harassing behavior.”
She pointed out that Willis had no disciplinary action in his history and that his firing was a “thinly veiled attempt to hide that it’s retaliation, which is illegal.”
“My client felt the defendants were already engaged in some form of retaliation and harassment before he left. The ultimate retaliation is to be fired,” she said. “Of course they don’t call it a firing. They say there was a reduction in force and just coincidentally his name is on the list.”
“On May 11, there’s money in the budget. Construction is planned and there was hiring going on,” she said. “The day after our initial court appearance, all of a sudden there’s a big problem with money.”
“Some people are afraid. They would talk among themselves. And now they are looking at what’s happening to Mr. Peppers. He did it and now he’s Example A,” Willis said. “He was willing to take a stand and put his job on the line to expose what he believes is the hypocrisy of Benedictine University and living up to its expressed values and policies.”
“He’s looking for damages negotiated for the compensatory damages associated with his illegal firing and punitive damages,” she said. “We’re talking about something well into the six figures.”