Earlier this month, Anna Baran was awarded a $3.5 million verdict in a case alleging her former employer made false and defamatory statements about her that destroyed her career.
Four years ago, Anna Baran sued her former employer, ASRC Federal Mission Solutions, with a handwritten complaint. Fortunately for her, the suit recently reached a verdict, awarding her $3.5 million. In her complaint, Baran claimed her former employer made false and defamatory statements “about her to a federal agency, causing the former software engineer to lose her security clearance.”
Despite the verdict, jurors rejected some of Baran’s claims, such as the one alleging she was “fired by ASRC Federal in retaliation for complaining about alleged harassment over her Polish roots or for giving notice of a planned complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.”
According to the suit, Baran argued that an “ASRC employee improperly reported an alleged January 2013 threat of workplace violence by Baran to the Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS), the Defense Department’s system of record for security clearance information.” As a result, Baran claimed her career was effectively destroyed. She noted that before the incident, she worked as a respected, “talented, and well-liked software engineer” earning around $90,000 per year. Now, she’s been forced to work in retail due to the damage to her career.
What kind of defamatory claims were made about her, though? Well, according to the suit, one of Baran’s co-workers made up a claim that she “had threatened to bring a gun (which she did not even own)…and shoot three people at the Whittendale Drive firm.”
As a result of the fabricated claim, the ASRC conducted an investigation, albeit inadequate, according to Baran. She also argued the company was “negligent in allowing the unproven allegation to be reported to JPAS.” Eventually, the fabricated claim resulted in her being arrested at home, though the “charges were dismissed two months later.” In August 2014, her arrest and charges against her were expunged.
In response to Baran’s lawsuit four years ago, the company argued the defamation claim was “filed after the expiration of New Jersey’s one-year statute of limitations” and noted it has “immunity for claims to JPAS.”
For those who don’t know, ASRC is a company that specializes in providing “systems engineering, software engineering, integration services, and products for mission-critical defense systems worldwide,” according to its website.
Throughout the case, Baran was represented by Hagerty and Bland-Tull Law of Collingswood. The firm decided to take on the case months after Baran filed her case in January 2015. So far, her attorney, LaTonya Bland-Tull has yet to respond to requests for comment.