A senior manager at Watkins College of Art & Design has sued his former employer and a few of its leaders for negligence, constructive discharge and other illegalities all tied to his admission of an acute medical problem.
Charles Fallon, Watkins’ former facilities director, this week filed a lawsuit against the school as a corporate entity as well as Ellen Meyer, its president, and Mary Ellen Lothamer, its vice president of finance and human resources, individually. The complaint filed in Davidson County Circuit Court and linked here, delineates Fallon’s history with the school and the unusual circumstances that preceded his leaving.
Fallon had worked at Watkins for nearly seven years and supervised five full-time employees. He was in charge of event planning and fundraising and managed the institution's MetroCenter grounds. He also took part the development of any new construction and his complaint says he received excellent performance reviews over the years.
At some point in January 2010, Fallon told Lothamer “he suffered from an acute medical condition.” The complaint does not indicate the nature of this condition. Lothamer conveyed this information to Meyer and it appears the problems leading to Fallon’s lawsuit began there.
“Subsequent to Watkins, Meyer and Lothamer being informed of Plaintiff’s acute medical condition, Plaintiff was subjected to and endured a harmful and/or abusive work environment,” Fallon’s complaint states.
Fallon claims that, after word got out that he had some medical problem, he was harassed by other employees and his responsibilities were methodically reduced by management, leaving him with little choice but to resign. Fallon’s lawyer, Maureen T. Holland, of the Holland & Associates firm in Memphis, wouldn’t disclose Fallon's condition but inferred that the information is critical to the outcome of this case.
“All I can say at this point is the lawsuit has been filed and we really can’t make any further comments at this time,” Holland said.
Holland has sought the legal expertise of Nashville attorney Abby Rubenfeld to help with this case.
Watkins officials were not available for comment Thursday. Fallon is seeking court determined compensatory and punitive damages along with standard attorneys’ fees and the like.