In a Friday letter to the Laramie Boomerang, retaliation claims against University of Wyoming Foundation CEO Ben Blalock were called “false” by Greg Hill, chair of the Foundation’s board of directors.
Mary Ann Garman, the Foundation’s vice president for financial services, has filed hostile work environment and retaliation claims against Blalock.
Garman claims Blalock retaliated against her, in part, for her deposition in a lawsuit from Mandy Davis, the Foundation’s former HR director.
“Mary Ann Garman was placed on administrative leave with pay on Aug. 2, 2018, due to a specific incident, which resulted in multiple investigations, in collaboration with the UW President, UW Police Department, the UW Human Resources department, UW Vice President Ben Blalock, and the UW Foundation Board of Directors,” Hill said. “Ms. Garman’s involvement in the incident was the sole reason she has been placed on leave. This decision was based on recommendations from law enforcement, Foundation board members, and UW Human Resources. The decision was not related to nor in consideration of anything associated with the Davis case or Ms. Garman’s deposition in that matter.”
The Davis lawsuit stems from a June 2015 incident, when Davis hired an employee — the most qualified candidate — who had an apparent physical disability. Blalock apparently took issue with the hiring and Davis was allegedly told to not hire another “retard.”
The lawsuit’s defendants denied that claim.
Davis filed a discrimination complaint, and six months later, Davis was laid off as part of a Foundation reorganization, which followed a university-wide hiring freeze initiated by former UW President Dick McGinity amid Wyoming’s economic downturn.
Less than two months before being put on administrative leave this year, Garman gave a deposition in Davis’s lawsuit. She said Blalock stressed Davis couldn’t be trusted shortly after the discrimination complaint was filed and she had “a feeling” Davis’s position was included in the reorganization because of the discrimination claim.
“It is unfortunate Ms. Garman chose to file retaliation, hostile work environment claims against Vice President Blalock, and the University of Wyoming Foundation following this decision, as any alleged connection with the Davis case is false,” Hill said. “The University of Wyoming Foundation Board of Directors will vigorously defend Vice President Blalock and the Foundation against these spurious claims in any and all administrative or legal proceedings and are confident that the decision to place Ms. Garman on administrative leave will be vindicated.”
Hill said his letter was written on behalf of the board of directors.
Davis’s attorneys have listed Garman as a witness for their client’s trial, scheduled to begin Feb. 11. Likewise, Garman has listed Davis as a witness to be interviewed in regard to her claims.