COURTHOUSE NEWS SERVICE: Class Accuses University of Phoenix of Deceit

Career College Central Summary:

  • Two former employees claim in a lawsuit that the University of Phoenix made recruiters lie to prospective students about credits, attend military job fairs to recruit secretly and work without overtime pay.
  • Marlena Aldrich and Kristen Nolan filed a class action against The University of Phoenix Inc. in Jefferson County, Ky. court on Tuesday. They sued for wrongful termination and state labor law violations.
  • Aldrich and Nolan were military liaisons for the university's Louisville, Ky. campus, according to the lawsuit. They claim they were asked to make "substantial misrepresentations" to meet recruitment goals and were fired when they did not meet their goals.
  • Misrepresentations made by recruiters to prospective students included saying credits will transfer when they will not, not disclosing the university's allegedly inferior accreditation, and telling potential recruits that certain employers endorse the university when they actually do not, according to the complaint.
  • Aldrich and Nolan say the University of Phoenix required recruiters to engage in a sales technique called "poking the pain," which involves playing to a potential student's insecurities about career and financial concerns.
  • "In truth there is no guarantee, indeed no evidence, that the UP degree will result in a better job, better wages, or otherwise operate as a 'fix' for the prospective student's income concerns," the complaint states. "In fact the opposite is true … 'gainful employment' statistics reflect that a UP degree likely will have little or no impact, indeed perhaps a negative impact, on the student's employability."
  • The class action also alleges that recruiters were required "to gain access to military bases surreptitiously" through job fairs by claiming to have job openings for soldiers and veterans when they were really just recruiting students. One such job fair was held by the Hiring Our Heroes organization and another was sponsored by Wounded Warriors, according to the complaint.

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