June 18, 2007

Federal District Court Respects Role of Marquette University Ombuds

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin has ruled against Daniel Cotrone, the former director of the counseling center at Marquette University, who had alleged age discrimination based on a hostile work environment. The case arose when three staff members separately told the university ombuds, Rita Burns, that Cotrone was a divisive micromanager who created a feeling of paranoia. The ombuds attempted to work out a resolution with Cotrone and his superior while protecting the confidentiality of the visitors. Informal efforts were unsuccessful and Cotrone was eventually terminated. The Court dismissed the case on summary judgment, finding that the ombuds' involvement did not create an unreasonable work environment. In particular, the Court stated that "by keeping the process confidential, [Marquette] did no more that follow the ombuds process's rules." In addition, Cotrone, "had no right to communicate with employees who used the ombuds process in the first place." (Cotrone v. Marquette Univ., (E.D. Wis. 2007) 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 41930.)

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations Rita!

    And Thanks for making it easier for the rest of us to defend ourselves by practicing to standards!