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Court reverses ruling on firing

By The Mercury

The Kansas Court of Appeals has reversed and remanded a Riley County District Court ruling that dismissed a former Kansas State University employee’s lawsuit for retaliatory discharge.

In an opinion released May 2, the Court of Appeals ruled that the case concerning the claim of Rachel Platt be remanded to the district court with directions that the lawsuit be reinstated.

The university hired Platt as a probationary employee on Sept. 21, 2011, according to the opinion.

A short time later, she began to suffer from headaches, migraines, nausea and other physical symptoms. Platt complained to her supervisor about the air quality in her office.

It was later determined that the ventilation system in the office had problems. The university attempted to improve the air quality by cleaning the grates, while Platt brought an air purifier to the office.

The university terminated Platt on March 7, 2012, citing excessive absences as the reason.

Platt filed a wrongful termination lawsuit on March 20, 2013. She claimed she had suffered a work-related injury and that the university had wrongfully used the absences caused by the illness as the reason for her termination.

Platt also claimed the university terminated her because she had a potential claim under the Kansas Workers Compensation Act.

The university filed a motion in district court to dismiss the lawsuit for failure to state a claim and failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

The district court granted the dismissal based on the latter.

However, the Court of Appeals reversed that decision because there were no administrative remedies with which Platt could comply under the state civil service and judicial review acts, according to its opinion.

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