State employee claims she was fired out of retaliation

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Aug 16, 2011

GALVESTON - Alleging the Texas Department of Family Services fired her out of retaliation, Patrice Lewis has filed a $150,000 lawsuit.

Court papers submitted Aug. 1 before Galveston County District Court insist Lewis lost her job on July 17, 2009 because TDFS was aware that she wrote a letter of support for a colleague who filed a discrimination complaint.

The plaintiff worked for the defendant for up to a year at the time of her apparent dismissal.

She was previously employed by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The suit claims TDFS fired Lewis "even though the plaintiff's evaluations were good and there was no indication that the plaintiff was not performing her job in an inadequate manner."

According to the original petition, the respondent informed Lewis during her termination interview that she made false statements about the agency and demanded she choose between resignation and dismissal.

The plaintiff asserts TDFS did not give her a reason for her firing, adding she subsequently received a letter stating "she was a probationary and she could be terminated for any reason."

She later learned that she was let go for violating an unspecified policy, the suit says.

Lewis argues she "was instructed to give honest statements to a governmental agency surrounding a discrimination complaint."

Attorney Anthony P. Griffin of Galveston is representing the plaintiff, and Galveston County 10th District Court Judge David Garner is presiding over the case.

Case No. 11-cv-1246

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