By: Andrew P. Han
Cohen Seglias Partner Paul Thaler was quoted in the Retraction Watch article, “Ecologist loses appeal for whistleblower protection.” Paul commented on the recent decision by the National Science Foundation. The article is available on the Retraction Watch website.
A top federal U.S. court has confirmed a decision by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to deny federal whistleblower protection to an ecologist who was fired after accusing a colleague of fraud.
After initially forcing NSF to more clearly explain its decision, the Denver-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit has agreed with the conclusions of NSF’s updated investigation, denying former Kansas State University researcher Joseph Craine’s appeal.
Attorney Paul Thaler, who has handled cases involving scientific misconduct (but was not involved with this one), told Retraction Watch that the latest decision appears to be the end of a cautionary tale of how not to report misconduct.
You have to be careful when making allegations, especially if you want certain protections.
Craine first sought protection from NSF in 2014 after being fired for accusing KSU colleagues Jesse Nippert and Zak Ratajczak of fraud in an email to editors at Ecology. Word of the email got back to Nippert, worsening an existing rift between Craine and other ecologists in the department over grassland management practices.