» Two Texas Cases: When Whistleblowers Get Fired

Two Texas Cases: When Whistleblowers Get Fired

The Texas Whistleblower Act protects public employees from adverse retaliation who make good faith reports of violations of law to appropriate law enforcement officials. The following two whistleblower cases have recently been in the spotlight.

On Sept. 20, Glenda Spoon, a former Texas community supervision officer, filed a whistle-blower suit against 336th District Judge Laurine Blake, the Fannin County Community Supervision and Corrections Department (FCCSCD), Fannin County Criminal District Attorney Richard Glaser, and its director, Debra Roberts.

Spoon alleges she was terminated because her supervisors said she went outside the chain of command to report alleged violations of state law concerning certain probationers destroying legal documents and other illegal activities. In her original petition, Spoon stated that prior to her termination she never received any adverse employment reprimands or reports. However, on June 23, Spoon was told to resign or she would be terminated. Spoon allegedly refused to resign and was then immediately terminated. Spoon alleges that Blake, Glaser and Roberts worked together to silence her and deprive her of her civil rights. Spoon’s case is still ongoing.

Another case in Amarillo, which was recently resolved, involved two former road department employees, Kevin Bates and Joe Reynero. Bates and Reynero were fired in December 2004. They won their case (although Kevin Bates died in 2006) against Randall County in late October 2010. Bates and Reynero were fired after complaining to authorities that the road department was allegedly performing illegal dumping and allowing some of its drivers to operate vehicles without a commercial driver’s license. Mr. Bates’ widow has stated that now she hopes the department will issue an apology to her deceased husband.

Gregory D. Jordan is an Austin business lawyer, an Austin employment attorney and Austin business litigation attorney who has substantial experience representing whistleblowers and can advise them of their rights and options.

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