This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Francine Giani, director of the Utah Department of Commerce, was found liable last Friday by a jury for wrongful termination of a state employee. Punitive damages against Giani and the state totaling $250,000 were awarded. Seldom are such cases even heard, nor this level of judgment rendered by Utah juries. But this plaintiff's experience is not singular.
We also worked under Giani five years ago while she was interim director at the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and both of us resigned in disgust over a shared perception of her abusive and misguided management. We watched in amazement as dozens of employees were falsely accused of corruption, inappropriately interrogated, many questionably fired or forced out. The damage done to that agency under Giani's administration was significant. It's no wonder the DABC remains largely dysfunctional to this day.
Now we are gratified to learn that some measure of justice has finally been served against this state administrator. Giani should resign or be retired. If the taxpayer ends up funding the damages here, it should remind everyone, including the governor, that state employees deserve to be treated with respect and due process.
Salt Lake City