WILLIAMSPORT — A federal judge has thrown out a suit in which the former director and three other ex-employees claimed their terminations by Triangle Tech Inc. violated federal and state whistleblower laws.
But, U.S. Middle District Judge Matthew W. Brann on Thursday gave former director Joseph Drumm, of Northumberland, Ronald McElwee, of Shamokin, Carol Beck, of Sunbury, and Lisa Delbaugh, of Sunbury, the opportunity to file an amended complaint.
McElwee was admissions representative, Beck a career adviser and Delbaugh an administrative assistant at the technical school in Sunbury. Triangle has schools in five other Pennsylvania locations.
In his opinion, Brann found the plaintiffs failed to support their claims under the False Claims Act and state whistleblower and wrongful termination laws.
It is unclear from the complaint whether Triangle Tech violated any statue or regulation, he wrote.
Drumm contended his Dec. 3, 2014, termination was related to his refusal to process and back date a document regarding financial aid for a student needed by Triangle Tech to obtain funds from the U.S. Department of Education.
He claimed he told Catherine Waxter. director of financial aid and one of the defendants, that to do what she directed would perpetrate an illegal act to obtain student aid monies.
Drumm contacted the federal Education Department and on June 25 met with an investigator from the Office of Inspector General. McElwee attended the meeting, the suit stated.
The results of the investigation, according to ihe complaint, were that any wrongdoing by Triangle Tech had been corrected upon notification by the Education Department and the school repaid approximately $70,000 in financial aid improperly received.
McElwee was fired Oct. i3 for alleged poor job performance when he returned from family and medical leave for the birth of his first child. Drumm was his supervisor.
The other three were suspended without pay Nov. 20 pending investigations into their conduct in the workplace, the document claims.
Drumm was terminated Dec. 3 for fostering an unprofessional culture in the workplace and the other two on Dec. 4.
Delbaugh claimed the reason given her was bullying, and Beck said she was told she was terminated for violations of wage and hour laws, which she denied.
Drumm, McElwee, Beck and Delbaugh alleged an investigation was begun to find perceived support to terminate them after the issues with the Department of Education were resolved.
Brann noted the terminations and suspensions occurred months after the complaint to the Education Department.
Besides the school and Waxter, the other defendants were its president, Timothy McMahon, Lisa Capuzzi, director of career advising, and Deborah Hepburn, director of school operations and compliance.