PITTSBURGH, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Education Management Corporation (Nasdaq: EDMC) today announced that it has investigated allegations of undue pressure placed upon career services advisors at the Company's Online Higher Education division and found no support for these claims. The employee making the allegations, Kathleen Bittel, a career services advisor for The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Online Division, is currently on leave from the organization at her request.
Bittel alleged both to the Company and in a letter sent to members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions ("HELP") Committee of the U.S. Senate that she and other employees had been pressured by supervisors to include, in job placement statistics, graduates who did not meet Company-established criteria for such placements. Upon initially learning of the allegations from Bittel, the Company conducted an internal investigation, consistent with its standard business practices, and sought her cooperation in providing specific facts supporting her claims, which she failed to do. The internal investigation found no support for Bittel's claims of undue pressure on EDMC Online Higher Education career services advisors.
After being informed by the media of the letter sent by Bittel to the HELP Committee, the Company undertook a second investigation led by outside counsel and again sought Bittel's cooperation, which she refused to provide. The second investigation similarly has found a lack of support for Bittel's claims that the Company encouraged career services advisors to improperly report job placements.
"We take all allegations of impropriety involving our employees extremely seriously," said Todd S. Nelson, Chief Executive Officer of the Company. "We have controls in place that are designed to avoid conduct such as that alleged by this employee, and we are committed to thoroughly scrutinize and take action regarding any indications to the contrary."
Education Management Corporation (www.edmc.edu) is among the largest providers of private post-secondary education in North America, based on student enrollment and revenue, with a total of 101 locations in 31 U.S. states and Canada. We offer academic programs to our students through campus-based and online curriculum instruction, or a combination of both. We are committed to offering quality academic programs and continuously strive to improve the learning experience for our students. Our educational institutions offer students the opportunity to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees and certain specialized non-degree diplomas in a broad range of disciplines, including design, media arts, health sciences, psychology and behavioral sciences, culinary, fashion, business, education, legal and information technology.
SOURCE Education Management Corporation