BREAKING: The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has decided to dismiss Christine Feit’s sexual harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit against Lehigh University.
The decision, which was filed on Feb. 5, 2021, comes after a nearly two-year long legal process.
The lawsuit was first made public on May 30, 2019 based on sexual harassment allegations against Thomas Novak, Lehigh’s former interim health center director. Following the allegations, Novak was put on suspension for investigation until Sept. 13, 2019 and later resigned from his role at Lehigh on Oct. 18, 2019.
Feit, a former certified medical assistant at Lehigh’s health center, began to take notice of Novak’s behavior in 2012 and promptly made Lehigh’s Director of Employee Relations aware of her concerns. Other Health and Wellness Center employees were also involved in recalling “a pattern over 12 years… of inappropriate behavior toward several [individuals]on the part of Dr. Novak,” according to the case summary.
Despite having substantial evidence that Novak engaged in “creepy” and inappropriate behavior, the court ruled Feit’s claims about Novak are “too late” and said she does not have enough evidence to “suggest that his conduct was severe or pervasive.”
Feit had been engaged in settlement discussions with Lehigh whilst in court as of this past June. Although today’s ruling does not allow for further hearings in court, the university is still under investigation by the US Department of Education for potential Clery Act violations, some of which were probed by this very case.
There have yet to be any publicly available progressions about the Department of Education investigation since it began last June.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. Please return to The Brown and White for additional information.