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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Faculty & Staff

Rehearing filed in UH Whistleblower case

A rehearing was filed at the Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday in an attempt to reverse its initial decision of siding with UH on a Texas Whistleblower case.

The University of Houston v. Stephen Barth has been a decade-long court battle, which had its most recent decision delivered on June 14, when the Texas Supreme Court ruled that university policies are not equal to state laws when it comes to reported violations to be protected by the Texas Whistleblower Act.

“The University strongly believes the Texas Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss Stephen Barth’s lawsuit in its entirety was appropriate and is consistent with the Texas Supreme Court’s previous Texas Whistleblower Act decisions, as well as other case laws in Texas,” said Richard Bonnin, interim vice president and vice chancellor for marketing and communication.

Barth, who is a tenured professor for the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management is using five issues to justify the grounds for a rehearing.

According to court documents Barth’s motion for rehearing introduction said the case should be reheard because the Court failed to adequately consider evidence in the record and its opinion relies on several erroneous conclusions regarding the evidence at trial. 

Barth said that the faculty and staff of the University should understand how the ruling would affect them.

“If this decision stands, it will have a severe chilling effect on faculty and staff coming forward, which is their obligation under the UH policies, so it puts them in a real catch 22 (situation),” Barth said. “The real question is why would an organization want to dis-incentivize its constituents from reporting corruption and abuse in the organization?”

If the Texas Supreme Court grants Barth’s motion for a rehearing, the case will go back to trial.

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