MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A professor at the University of Memphis claims he's losing his job for being a whistleblower. The university denies any wrongdoing but the professor is suing and making some serious accusations.
Dr. Philip McCarthy is a University of Memphis Applied Linguistics professor and says he loves teaching. When he raised concerns about integrity within his department he said his boss decided not to renew his contract. Now he's suing the university to get his job back.
“We're going to leave it up to the court to decide what he's entitled to but he certainly loves his job and would like to stay there,” said McCarthy’s attorney, Haden Lawyer.
After working 7 years at the U of M, McCarthy says everything changed when he questioned the integrity of the English Department in 2011.
"He had some concerns about the way the department was handling graduation rates among other things,” said Lawyer.
McCarthy claims professors were pressured to pass students who did not qualify for PhD’s so the university can receive more grant money. He also claimed professors misused university money.
"We consider the charges baseless and we'll defend our position vigorously,” said University of Memphis Interim Provost, Dr. Thomas Nenon.
The University conducted an internal audit and found no proof of fraud or misuse of money. McCarthy claims after years of excellent performance reviews he was given a poor performance evaluation following his complaints. His attorney says McCarthy is losing his job for being a "Whistleblower."
“Dr. McCarthy was one of the top researchers and professors in his discipline," said Lawyer.
"What we do know as you see in the suit that this person's dissatisfaction has been known to us for a while,” said Dr. Nenon.
Both sides believe the law is on their side.
"When people wait to see what happens and all the facts come out that the outcome will confirm that we are and remain committed to the academic integrity of our degrees,” Dr. Nenon stated.
"It's always difficult to go up against anyone that has more resources than you do but we believe the law is on our side and ultimately that is what matters,” said Lawyer.
This is just the beginning of the lawsuit. McCarthy's attorney says it can take years before this case goes to trial.