POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) – The Idaho Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Idaho State University, saying that a former professor wasn’t wrongly denied unemployment benefits after he was fired.
The ruling Thursday found that Habib Sadid engaged in employment-related misconduct, according to The Idaho State Journal . Sadid was a tenured professor at ISU’s School of Engineering but he was fired in 2009 after university officials said he ignored repeated warnings that he was violating the school’s protocol for criticizing upper-level administrators.
Sadid said his speech was protected under the First Amendment and he should be entitled to unemployment benefits.
“Sadid argues that his speech was constitutionally protected,” the court said in its decision. “But Sadid was not terminated for the content of what he said, but for his disruptive behavior. He was not terminated because of what he said, because of his dissatisfaction with ISU’s upper administration, or even for expressing that dissatisfaction. He was terminated for insubordination and failing to conform his conduct to the standards required by ISU.”
The court said Sidid was asked to behave in a collegial manner with colleagues, but instead destroyed professional relationships.
“Sadid was not asked to stop criticizing ISU’s administration, he was merely asked to use proper channels in raising his concerns,” the court said. “Sadid was not asked to avoid discussing his personal evaluation with which he disagreed, he was simply asked not to raise those concerns in faculty meetings, and to escalate his concerns through proper channels.”
After Sadid was fired in 2009, he was awarded unemployment benefits. The school appealed to the Idaho Industrial Commission, which reversed Sadid’s award or unemployment benefits after determining he was fired for employment-related misconduct.
Sadid appealed to the Idaho Court of Appeals and then the Idaho Supreme Court.