University of Virginia Whistle-Blower Gets $819,000 Jury Award

By Judy Greenwald

Oct. 17, 2012

A federal jury in Charlottesville, Virginia, has awarded $819,000 to an academic whistle-blower who complained he was retaliated against after he complained his mentor at the University of Virginia had misappropriated National Institutes of Health Funds.

The jury verdict in favor of Weihua Huang was reached Oct. 12 and announced by Huang’s attorney Oct. 15.

In addition to the university, named as defendants in the False Claims Act litigation was Huang’s former mentor, Ming D. Li, and Bankole A. Johnson, chairman of the university’s psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences department.

Huang claimed he was retaliated against after he complained about Li’s misuse of federal research grants for a project on the genetics of nicotine and addiction.

According to the original complaint, which was filed in in August 2011, Li submitted false status reports in connection with the project so that he and a laboratory assistant could devote more time to other research projects while drawing on the National Institute of Health project’s funding. When Huang complained of this, he was told his contract would not be renewed.

Huang’s law firm, the Employment Law Group, said in a statement a later ruling by the judge in the case, Norman K. Moon in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, will determine whether there will be an additional award for lost future earnings or a requirement for Huang’s reinstatement.

A university spokesman said in a statement that the university is evaluating the case and will have no further comment.

Judy Greenwald writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. Comment below or email

Stay informed and connected. Get human resources news and HR features via Workforce Management’s Twitter feed or RSS feeds for mobile devices and news readers.

Judy Greenwald writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management.

What’s New at

blog workforce

Come see what we’re building in the world of predictive employee scheduling, superior labor insights and next-gen employee apps. We’re on a mission to automate workforce management for hourly employees and bring productivity, optimization and engagement to the frontline.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog


Minimum Wage by State in 2023 – All You Need to Know

Summary Twenty-three states and D.C. raised their minimum wage rates in 2023, effective January 1.  Thr...

federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance

workforce blog


New Labor Laws Taking Effect in 2023

The new year is fast approaching, and with its arrival comes a host of new labor laws that will impact ...

labor laws, minimum wage, wage and hour law

workforce blog


Wage and Hour Laws in 2022: What Employers Need to Know

Whether a mom-and-pop shop with a handful of employees or a large corporation staffing thousands, compl...

compliance, wage and hour law