Employee sues UTMB for age discrimination

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Nov 5, 2009

GALVESTON - A Galveston County man alleges he was fired from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston last year because of his age, recent court documents say.

Thomas Galan's lawsuit against UTMB, filed Nov. 2, accuses the 120-year-old school of disregarding the plaintiff's civil rights when it terminated him instead of a younger colleague after Hurricane Ike.

"The defendant's actions violate the prohibition with respect to age being a factor in the decision-making process in one employment," the original petition says.

The case shows Galan, who was 53 at the time of his dismissal, built up a 20-year employment history with UTMB.

He started out as a computer programmer before moving on toward being an IT manager.

The man who reportedly was spared was hired as a subordinate to Galan last year.

Ike, a Category 2 storm, made landfall on eastern Galveston Island on Sept. 13, 2008, flooding many residences and businesses including UTMB.

Consequently, the institution was forced to shut down temporarily and layoff hundreds of workers.

Among them was Galan, the suit states.

The plaintiff says he contested the firing to no avail and later learned that his 33-year-old co-worker was retained.

"The university removed the plaintiff from his position based upon a seeming objective standard, but did not apply the same standard to the younger worker," the suit says.

"The plaintiff was qualified for the position and more qualified than the one retained."

Galan insists that he is in excellent health and his track record is spotless.

Represented by Galveston attorney Anthony P. Griffin, he seeks monetary compensation and a declaratory judgment from Galveston County 212th District Court Judge Susan Criss stating that UTMB has engaged in discriminatory conduct.

Case No. 09CV2045

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