Saturday, August 29, 2009

Whistleblower Brings Suit Against Bandera County Sheriff

You often hear of police auctions in which cars that were confiscated from drug dealers or other criminals are sold to the public. This provides a way to keep well-functioning cars on the road and bring a little extra revenue to local law enforcement. Do you ever wonder what happens to other evidence that is collected as part of an investigation? You probably do not assume that a glass beaker used in a meth lab would become a police officer’s new fish bowl or that shotguns used in the commission of a crime would be used during hunting trips. However, allegations of such misuse are being brought against Sheriff Weldon Tucker of Bandera County. And now, the deputy who exposed the alleged crimes is claiming he lost his job as a result.

Deputy Scott A. Sharp contends that he was fired by Tucker in retaliation for reporting “unlawful, irregular and corrupt activities” to federal authorities. Sharp has now filed a lawsuit seeking at least $2 million in damages and naming Sharp, two other administrators, and the county itself as defendants. Tucker has denied any wrongdoing and insists that Sharp was fired due to insubordination. The case will be played out in the U.S. District Court in San Antonio.

In Texas, public employees such as police officers are protected under state law if they find it necessary to act as whistleblowers. You should not worry that your job will be threatened if you choose to report illegal activity occurring at your place of employment. If you have lost your job due to your decision to be a whistleblower, the labor and employment attorneys at Bertolino LLP can help. We have offices in San Antonio, as well as in Austin and Houston, with lawyers ready to fight for your career and your reputation. Please contact us today.

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