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McPhee lawsuit to be heard by state's highest court

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An appeal on a civil lawsuit filed against MTSU President Sidney McPhee four years ago by a former assistant will be heard by the Tennessee Supreme Court this June.

Tammie Allen filed the lawsuit in February 2003 stating severe emotional distress and an incomplete and biased investigation into the sexual harassment lawsuit she filed against the university president in October 2003. The investigation was performed by the Tennessee Board of Regents, which governs MTSU.

The state's highest court will hear the appeal June 6 to determine if the Tennessee Court of Appeals erred last year when it upheld a lower court's decision. Allen lost her case because the courts said there wasn't any proof she received any retaliation at work or job status due to the sexual harassment complaint.

The Tennessee Court of Appeal stated that to prove a case of retaliation against an individual or employer under the Tennessee Human Rights Act requires evidence of an adverse employment action.

Allen seeks unspecified damages in the suit.

McPhee was found to have violated Regents' sexual harassment policy and was given a 20-day suspension served Dec. 15, 2003 to Jan. 5, 2004. The president's salary was reduced by $10,000 for one year, and he was required to attend employment-issues training including sexual harassment law. Allen was transferred to the University Office of the Vice President for Development and University Relations and received a $4,000 pay raise.

Erin Edgemon can be reached at 869-0812 and at eedgemon@murfreesboropost.com.
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