4th Nov 2014
No matter the employer, there is always the possibility of discrimination and retaliation against employees. A federal lawsuit was filed on October 21, 2014 against Rogelio “Ray” Valdez, the Chief Justice of the Thirteenth Court of Appeals in Corpus Christi, alleging that Valdez retaliated against a former staff attorney for reporting Valdez to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. The case was filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the federal civil rights statute that protects individuals’ constitutional rights in employment. The plaintiff in this case alleges that his First Amendment free speech rights were violated when he spoke out about a matter of public concern: possible violations of Texas Law by Valdez. He alleges that he was terminated and refused another position with the Thirteenth Court of Appeals following his report to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. It is very unusual for employment lawsuits to be brought against sitting judges, but this case goes to show that discrimination or retaliation claims exist in a wide range of employment situations, and it is important to understand your legal rights.