Former Assistant Principal Files Suit for Violations of Texas’ Whistleblower Act
A former assistant principal in Texas has filed suit alleging that the school terminated him in retaliation for reporting mismanagement at the high school.
Joseph Palazzolo, previously employed by , alleged in a lawsuit that Arlington Heights’ staff falsified attendance records, misused booster club funds, employed disciplinary procedures unfair to minority students, and made inappropriate sexual comments in the presence of students.
Palazzolo alleged that when he reported the misconduct, the Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) transferred him into a lower paying job, placed him on administrative leave, and eventually terminated him on February 14. According to the District, Palazzolo was terminated for undisclosed convictions for failure to pay child support in 1997 and for hiring an employee with a lapsed license at a security company in 1998. .
The Texas Education Agency (TEA), which oversees education districts throughout the state, responded that FWISD legitimately terminated Palazzolo for several reasons, including Palazzolo’s conduct towards students, parents and staff, his creation of a hostile work environment, failure to comply with his principal’s instructions, and use of disciplinary procedures adversely affecting minority students. The TEA added that Palazzolo was only one of several Arlington Heights’ personnel disciplined following an investigation by the agency.
Texas provides protection for whistleblowers who, in good faith, report alleged violations of federal, state, or local laws. California provides similar, but much broader protection, and protects whistleblowers who report “any action that violates the law, is economically wasteful, or involves gross misconduct, incompetency, or inefficiency.”
If you feel you were terminated in retaliation for being a whistleblower, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a confidential consultation.