Houston man says college fired him from police department because of age

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Aug 6, 2013

HOUSTON - A Houston man has brought a lawsuit against the San Jacinto College District, alleging it discriminated against him because of his age.

Recent court documents filed Aug. 5 in Houston federal court claim SJCD mistreated and ultimately fired Michael Pierce, 66, "for telling the truth about his employer's discrimination and mismanagement."

SJCD employed Pierce, who has nearly 30 years of law enforcement experience, as a police officer at its South campus at the time of the events in question.

The suit explains that much of Pierce's claims have to do with then-SJCD police chief Jeffrey Van Slyke's purported "age bias," stating Van Slyke made his negative views about the force's older officers known on a constant basis.

According to the original petition, the chief filled key positions with unqualified or inexperienced officers while coercing those with experience into early retirement.

Pierce adds Van Slyke, who is not a defendant in the case, passed him over for a higher position in favor of a younger applicant.

The suit further shows that the plaintiff reported the apparent discrimination only to be retaliated against.

After being blamed for the misconduct of another officer, the respondent terminated Pierce in December 2011.

Consequently, the complainant seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Attorney Paul R. Harris of Houston is representing Pierce.

Case No. 4:13-CV-2276

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