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Passing the Harasser: How Accusations Can Blacklist Someone

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jun 08, 2022 | 0 Comments

In academia, it is common for professors to leave one role in search of another position at a new school. During the hiring process at the new school, the hiring committee may learn of rumors of your behavior at your prior school. Unfortunately, these rumors may disqualify you from continuing as a candidate.

No one's character or fitness as a professor should be based on a rumor from the past - especially ones that were proven false. If you have been accused of misconduct at a prior position and are seeking new employment, an attorney advisor can help ensure your candidacy is not disqualified.

Breaking the Norm at UC Davis

In 2018, at the University of California at Davis, the assistant vice provost, Binnie Singh, and a campus lawyer, Sheila O'Rourke, wanted to avoid a common issue some call "passing the harasser" when hiring a new professor with rumors attached to their name. As such, they created a policy to allow their hiring committees to ask the previous institution about the rumors they had heard. In the years since, the university credits the policy with discouraging people accused of harassment from even applying to open positions.

Further, the university has stated that candidates are not automatically disqualified for such accusations and are given a process for explaining their side of the story. A panel of UC-Davis administrators will hear the proceedings and decide whether the candidate should be disqualified.

What This Means for You

If you have been accused of some sort of misconduct at a university, it could mean that the accusations are actively blacklisting you from a new position. For instance, if you agree to have the new institution speak to your past university and the prior university reports that there had been accusations of improper conduct, you may be disqualified from the candidacy altogether. This is especially true at institutions that have not created pathways to help you advocate on your own behalf, as UC Davis has.

How an Attorney Advisor Can Help

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have years of experience helping faculty members and administrative staff contend with accusations of misconduct on campus. As such, they have the know-how and fighting attitude to ensure that your due process rights are kept intact. When applying for a new position, prior rumors should have no effect on your candidacy, even if you agree to have the new institution contact your prior university for a reference. You should be given the opportunity to present your side of the case.

If you feel you are being unjustly disqualified from a university position because of a rumor about your behavior at your prior position, Attorney Lento and his expert team will work diligently to get you the chance to present your side. Additionally, they will gather evidence and witnesses to attest on your behalf, guaranteeing you the best possible outcome for your case. Call 888-535-3686 today or schedule a consultation online. The Lento Law Firm can help.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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