WVU employee sues Board of Governors over position, termination

By Cara Bailey | Nov 15, 2007

MORGANTOWN - An employee of West Virginia University has filed a suit against the school's Board of Governors, claiming she was passed over for a job for which she was qualified and her position was terminated.

Janice Hriblan filed a suit Oct. 16 in Monongalia Circuit Court, seeking lost wages and benefits and other damages.

According to the suit, Hriblan started working at the university as a secretary in 1971. In October 1998, she became the assistant to Amir Mohammadi, who was the assistant vice president for Student Affairs.

In 2000, Mohammadi was promoted to associate vice president, and Hriblan moved up as his assistant.

During her time as Mohammadi's assistant, she worked with other officials and employees in Student Affairs, including financial and human resource issues.

In 2003, Hriblan expressed concerns about expenditures of state funds by individuals in Student Affairs.

"In response to her concerns, the vice president for Student Affairs directed to prepare a report explaining her concerns and explaining why the problems had not been found earlier," the suit says.

According to the suit, the problems had not been found earlier because the expenditures were processed in such a way that would not ordinarily have been brought to Hriblan's attention.

Before the report was completed, Hriblan and Mohammadi were assigned to a new division that included only the two of them. In 2006, Mohammadi left for a position at another university.

According to the suit, Hriblan was given the option of working until June 30, 2007, when her employment would be terminated at WVU, or apply for a different position, which would involve a decrease in salary of more than $30,000.

Hriblan chose to remain in her current position in hopes another position would be available for which she could apply. However, WVU did not post any vacant positions she was qualified for and that would meet her salary requests, the suit says.

"Between the date the WVY first knew that Mr. Mohammadi was leaving and the present, there were vacant positions at WVU for which Ms. Hriblan was qualified," the suit says. "However, those positions were not posted and, instead, other individuals were transferred into those positions without any opportunity for the plaintiff to apply."

Hriblan claims she should have been offered one or more of those positions.

In the two-count suit, Hriblan seeks damages for emotional distress and suffering, as well as any other costs the court may deem necessary.

Attorney Allan N. Karlin is representing Hriblan.

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