Caldwell County Jail named in wrongful termination suit

Caldwell County Jail named in wrongful termination suit

By Kathi Bliss

Editor/POST-REGISTER

 

Caldwell County Sheriff Daniel Law and members of his staff are in court this week, defending allegations of discrimination, wrongful termination and inappropriate behavior in the Caldwell County Jail.

The case being heard this week in the Federal District Court, stems from a suit filed by Katharina Harper, formerly a corrections officer at the Caldwell County Jail, who alleges that she was improperly terminated from her job at the department. She said she was discriminated against as a woman, as a disabled person, and that the Sheriff’s Department was in violation of Federal “Whistleblower” statutes when they released her.

Law contends the termination was the direct result of Harper’s actions, up to and including allegations that she lied on her job application when she said that she had not been treated or diagnosed for any medical conditions, and that she was not taking any medication.

After she was employed at the Caldwell County Jail, Harper complained that her employer was not taking proper steps to “accommodate her disability,” which she said was Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder. She claimed to have been under treatment for the disorder since 2005.

According to her court filings, at some point during her employment, Harper reported having witnessed two other employees of the Caldwell County Jail engaged in inappropriate conduct in the jail’s control room. She reported that behavior to a superior, and the two employees were disciplined.

However, after that discipline, Harper alleges that she was harassed, and eventually terminated, because she made the report to superiors. Law and others familiar with the case have suggested in the past that Harper became a discipline problem herself after the incident, because she insisted that her superiors violate internal policy and advise her of the nature of the discipline; it has also been suggested that Harper caused problems because she did not believe the discipline was strong enough.

Testimony in the case, which is being heard by Federal Judge Lee Yeakel, began on Monday and is expected to continue through the week. Law, because he is not only in the courtroom, but because he has been called as a witness, returned calls for comment, but could not provide additional information on the trial.

He did agree to speak about the situation once the trial is complete and the Judge and jury have entered their ruling.

Legal action between Harper and the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Department has been common since her termination in August 2009, and has included complaints to the Texas Workforce Commission, the EEOC and now, the Federal Court System.

Throughout the process, Law has maintained her allegations are untrue, and that the actions of his department have been misinterpreted.

Attorney Robert Bass, who is representing Caldwell County in the case, said in his opening statements on Monday that Harper was not disciplined for making the report against her fellow employees, but rather for her behavior afterward. He also said she was not terminated because she suffers from ADHD; she was fired for not disclosing that disorder on her initial job application.

Harper, on the other hand, maintains the belief that she was treated shabbily by a “good ol’ boy” system of law enforcement.

kathibliss@post-register.com

 

12 Comments

  1. I do not know Ms Harper but I do know what ever Daniel Law says take with a grain of Salt. Ever since he lied during his campaign against Mike Bading to get elected its hard to believe anything he says. Mike never had to wear his badge or gun outside his clothes for people to see. This seems to be very important to Daniel Law, even at the ball park.

    • I agree totally. Isn’t there enough law enforcement around acting like ” billy bad ass”? To have the leader of them all doing to boot. Also, let me say, why is it that our CCSO spent tax payers $, as well as seized drug $ to purchase 2 Ford F350 SWB Crew cab trucks back in 2010? One of which is a king ranch edition whom Daniel Law drives him self! Selfish in my opinion.

      Then when those of us whom live in rural cc have very little help from the SO (I.e. #1 Animal Control–animal cruelty-seizers-charges-inpoundments-through investigations, #2–Robbery/Theft-our own 911 dispatchers have NO idea or knowledge of the county’s road system. #3 Chain of Command–what in GODS name is that?,.,.,,.,!?!!! Ask an see. Yes you get a sergeant, an that’s it!

      Rural Caldwell County, make a change NOW! We can’t do worse than what we have currently!

      • J.B says:

        I agree. Has anyone noticed the Caldwell County S.O. does not enforce obviously violations of the Texas Penal Code, such as Cruelty to Animals? I continue to hear stories of concerned citizens that report starving horses and livestock and nothing ever happens. Several horses can die and there is never any action taken against the owners!

  2. Reader says:

    Finally! Someone actually had the sense to say something about Daniel Law’s behavior. Thank you Leslie for having the guts to speak up. Is there anyone else out there that can give us more info on the destructive behavior of Daniel Law? Anyone? Bueller??

  3. Shad McIntosh says:

    Pay up Danny boy. Your good ole boy politics has caught up with you. Maybe you can pick up a few bucks singing on the street corner to help pay me back, since it’s my tax money. what an idiot.

    • Reader says:

      Well said, Shad. Well said. We should make Danny the Law wash, wax and detail all of our cars here in town to make up for all the bonehead antics he’s brought to this town. We can tip him, and make him say “Thank you Sir, May I have another??”, every time he wants another tip.

  4. How do I find out when and how long a person was in Caldwell county jail?

    • staff says:

      Ms. Lackey – The records division at Caldwell County Jail should be able to provide you with that information. The main non-emergency number for the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office is 512-398-6777.

  5. b matl says:

    I believe ther is more situations like Ms. Harper’s, but these have to do with inmates. Does anyone have information on how a person can find an attorney to help them?

  6. Cynthia Fischer says:

    Wow! Someone keeps deleting me comments and, or, opinions. It was even in Daniel Laws defense! I wonder who it could be…….Hmmm…..Maybe, a Wifey?!

    • staff says:

      Ms. Fischer — Only two site admins, and no members of the public, have access to moderate, approve or delete comments. Sometimes, moderation takes time, and frankly, deleting of comments is rare. If you feel your comments are being deleted unfairly, we encourage you to contact us and let us know the date and time of the comment, so we can assess the problem. -kb

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