Galveston ISD director files racial discrimination suit against district

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jul. 30, 2012, 2:57pm

HOUSTON - Alleging race to be a factor in his removal as director of transportation for the Galveston Independent School District, Joe L. Alvarez has filed a lawsuit.

Recent court documents filed July 13 in Houston federal court claim Alvarez, who is of Hispanic descent, was relieved and replaced by a white male who reportedly "did not have the requisite degree in transportation and qualifications for the position."

GISD Superintendent Larry Nichols is also named as a defendant in the suit.

The school district hired the plaintiff in March 2010. The original petition explains that GISD implemented a new organizational chart in September 2010 which had Alvarez report to the chief financial officer and the chief of curriculum and instructions. Alvarez states that Nichols took him out of his position in July 2011.

According to the suit, the superintendent "made it clear to the plaintiff that he was going to remove him from the job or he was going to demote the plaintiff."

Alvarez further complains that Nichols would bring him to a room and scream at him, which "had created a hostile work environment for him."

"It is the plaintiff's belief that the practice of belittling him was designed to encourage the plaintiff to terminate the employment," the suit says.

The plaintiff insists he "had met the requirements of the job, had remained within budget and his evaluations did reflect that he performed his job in a workman and efficient manner," saying he had saved GISD some $700,000 in salaries.

GISD eliminated the complainant's assigned position of assistant transportation director on May 28 with the plaintiff's last date of employment a month later.

Attorney Anthony P. Griffin with A Griffin Lawyers in Galveston is representing Alvarez.

Case No. 4:12-cv-2113

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