Dishonesty Expert Sues Harvard After Work Faces Scrutiny For Alleged Dishonesty

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A prominent behavioral scientist, who once led a study on honesty, announced Wednesday she is suing Harvard University and members of an online blog after accusations of academic dishonesty in her research.

Professor Francesca Gino is suing Harvard University and members of the online blog “Data Colada” after allegations arose that she had manipulated data from a 2012 study on honesty. The allegations led co-authors of the study to retract the paper and further scrutiny of her other research. Harvard ultimately placed Gino on administrative leave over the allegations.

In the 100-page lawsuit, Gino denied the allegations against her and her research, claiming that Data Colada was making false and defamatory statements against her. Gino further alleged that Harvard Business School discriminated against her on the basis of sex, noting that when a junior male colleague was in a similar situation, his confidentiality was protected during the investigation and he was subsequently given tenure.

“Harvard Business School has never found [that Gino was] responsible for ‘research misconduct’ within the meaning of that term, as defined by Harvard Business School’s own Interim Policy, or within the meaning of federal regulations …” the lawsuit states. Further, court documents claim that Data Colada admitted it had “no evidence” that Gino had committed data fraud.

Harvard Business School said it did not have any comment on the situation at this time in response to a Daily Caller request for comment.

“This admission was made to a limited audience and, in any event, the damage to [Gino’s] reputation had already been done,” the lawsuit continues. (RELATED: Pro-Abortion Professor Files Defamation Lawsuit Against Notre Dame’s Conservative Campus Paper)

Despite this, Gino alleged that after an 18 month investigation, which found no preponderance of evidence that intentional or reckless falsification of data occurred, the investigative committee still concluded she was guilty of “research misconduct.” This finding led the Dean of Harvard Business School to place her on unpaid administrative leave, “immediately removing her from all of her teaching duties, research responsibilities, mentorship of students, and her titled professorship,” court documents claim.

Court documents maintain that due to the alleged defamation, Gino’s reputation has been “sullied if not destroyed.” In an addition to the emotional distress she had endured in the wake of the allegations, Gino argued that she has been stripped of her salary and her career has been derailed as she is no longer able to engage in any research or work as a “highly-esteemed tenured professor at Harvard Business School.”

Gino is seeking $25 million and injunction relief.

The Daily Caller has reached out to the Data Colada team and will update as necessary.