Mike McQueary‘s career at Penn State ended, by all accounts, the moment he stumbled upon Jerry Sandusky in a university shower and now the former wide receivers coach intends to sue under whistleblower status.
McQueary’s counsel filed a writ of summons — directing the sheriff or other officer to notify Penn State an action has been commenced against them and the date they’re required to appear — that sets in motion more litigation in the State College area.
As if there wasn’t enough of it already.
That writ doesn’t contain specific details per the Centre Daily Times, but we can speculate based on the Pennsylvania Code.
§ 1423. Protection of employees is outlined below:
(a) PERSONS NOT TO BE DISCHARGED.– No employer may discharge, threaten or otherwise discriminate or
retaliate against an employee regarding the employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges of
employment because the employee or a person acting on behalf of the employee makes a good faith report or is about to
report, verbally or in writing, to the employer or appropriate authority an instance of wrongdoing or waste.
(b) DISCRIMINATION PROHIBITED.– No employer may discharge, threaten or otherwise discriminate or retaliate
against an employee regarding the employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges of employment
because the employee is requested by an appropriate authority to participate in an investigation, hearing or inquiry held
by an appropriate authority or in a court action.
Waste is tied to finances and other resources related to an employer so McQueary won’t pursue that tenet. But “wrongdoing,” as defined below does possibly provide him with a case. In addition, McQueary’s attorney may claim that his client was discriminated against — put on administrative leave with no intention of bringing him back — once he’d involved himself and testified before a Grand Jury about the events he saw pertaining to Sandusky.
“WRONGDOING.” A violation which is not of a merely technical or minimal nature of a Federal or State statute or
regulation, of a political subdivision ordinance or regulation or of a code of conduct or ethics designed to protect the
interest of the public or the employer.
This requirement is admittedly more hazy and I’m not familiar enough with Pennsylvania statutes to give a thorough synopsis. But best I can tell, the wrongdoing must reach the level of a federal or state statute, not simply unethical practices. For McQueary, that’s not an issue as he reported a rape. Thus, he would seem to meet that tenet as well.
There’s a statute of limitations that McQueary bring the civil actions within 180 days after the occurrence of the alleged violation. Knowing he just changed his story to push back Sandusky’s shower incident to 2001, it’s obviously not that occurrence. Perhaps, and again I’m just speculating, McQueary was told by Penn State officials he wouldn’t be retained and it was time for him to find other employment within the last six months. He’s toxic as a football coach and possibly as an employee so it makes sense that McQueary attempt to gather some recourse from the university that altered his professional life.
§ 1425. Enforcement
A court, in rendering a judgment in an action brought under this act, shall order, as the court considers appropriate,
reinstatement of the employee, the payment of back wages, full reinstatement of fringe benefits and seniority rights,
actual damages or any combination of these remedies. A court may also award the complainant all or a portion of the
costs of litigation, including reasonable attorney fees and witness fees, if the court determines that the award is
If successful, McQueary’s looking at earning what’s left on his contract (reinstatement doesn’t seem realistic) and actual damages (compensatory damages for a loss — here, McQueary’s employment).
But McQueary also worked as an employee at a university, one that started as a land-grant then morphed into a public one. And there’s undoubtedly slews of legislation to help bog down litigation in that arena.
So will any of this happen?
It’s difficult to tell considering the prosecutors in Centre County inadvertently and temporarily released the names of Jerry Sandusky’s victims on Monday. Clown show.