LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- With the recent firing of Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino, we wanted to look further into the hiring of Jessica Dorrell and the legal questions surrounding her employment.
There are also questions surrounding the hiring process of Dorrell. University of Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a Tuesday press conference that 159 applicants applied for Dorrell's position, and only two other applicants were interviewed before choosing Dorrell for the job.
According to legal experts, it is highly unlikely anyone other than Dorrell would have a viable claim against the university or former head football Coach Bobby Petrino when it comes to legal action.
Little Rock attorney Chip Welch, who specializes in labor law says, the university could face questions regarding Dorrell's hiring process.
Welch says it would more than likely be an affirmative action issue, but adds that applicants for this job probably wouldn't have a lot of ground to stand on.
"Anyone who's complaining, is complaining about not being included and interviewed in a process in a job that lasted 3 weeks, so there's probably not going to be a whole lot that comes of that," Welch says.
According to the University of Arkansas, Jessica Dorrell is still employed there. Legal experts say the university has to be very careful with her. Welch says termination could lead to what lawyers call a quid pro quo sexual harrassment claim.
"She had a supervisor who was twice her age and he was making considerably more money than she who engages in a relationship with her and when it comes to light she's fired because of her status and she would have had a difficult time saying no to a powerful man twice her age, making 3.9 million dollars compared to her 55 thousand who was her direct supervisor if that's how she chose to cast it."
So in effect, Welch says, Petrino opened himself and the university up to a possible sexual harrassment lawsuit.
"At least that would be the allegation if she chose to fight it. Now, probably the university has already thought of all this and probably there's been some agreement or approachment between her and the university and that will be the end of it."
As for Petrino, Welch doesn't think we've heard the last from him given his statement released Tuesday night.
"He didn't necessarily say he agreed he should have been fired and he didn't say he agreed he should get nothing. He stopped short of that and he said it wasn't the place for him to take issue with Jeff Long."