DALLAS, July 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Texas Work Force Commission today announced its decision that "[t]here was no evidence" that Joel F. Fitzgerald, Sr. Ph.D. "was guilty of work connected misconduct" when it terminated him for cause on May 20, 2019. The City refused to pay Dr. Fitzgerald benefits under his contract with the City, claiming he was terminated for misconduct. The TWC had earlier ruled in favor of the City on June 13, 2019 but Fitzgerald appealed. An appellate hearing was concluded on July 11, 2019 and reversed the June 13 decision.
The Appeal Tribunal determined that Dr. Fitzgerald had not engaged in any conduct that justified the City's claim that Dr. Fitzgerald engaged in any form of misconduct. The City had claimed that Dr. Fitzgerald acted inappropriately at the Top Cop banquet in D.C. in May, 2019, and that his conduct justified termination for cause. The TWC disagreed and found no evidence of any wrongdoing by Dr. Fitzgerald at the event in question.
"Basically, the only evidence that the City had was some chatter generated by the FWPOA representative Manny Ramirez that the Chief had acted inappropriately at the banquet. While this may have been enough to dupe the media into thinking something happened, in the end, you win or lose based on evidence, not hearsay," Stephen Kennedy, founder of Kennedy Law P.C., said. "Ramirez' word is simply not good enough, especially when you have three witnesses who are employed outside of the City testifying that nothing happened," Kennedy said.
"This supports Dr. Fitzgerald's contention that he was terminated for other reasons, namely, because he reported the City's alleged fabrication of evidence concerning compliance with federal regulations governing CJIS access and because of his race," Kennedy said.
One month before Dr. Fitzgerald's termination, City Manager David Cooke had testified in a different litigation matter that he had "no regrets" in hiring Dr. Fitzgerald as Police Chief. After the D.C. event, Cooke claimed in a press conference that the City had lost confidence in Dr. Fitzgerald, and therefore terminated him with cause. "The TWC's finding that Dr. Fitzgerald did nothing wrong at the D.C. conference is going to make the City's justification of terminating Dr. Fitzgerald rather difficult to justify to a Dallas jury," Kennedy said. Dr. Fitzgerald has sued the City for violating the Texas Government Code which protects whistleblowers and is filing an EEOC claim for racial discrimination.
Kennedy Law, P.C. is a business litigation boutique with nearly 32 years' experience in trying business cases in Texas and throughout the United States. Kennedy Law represents prominent clients in business litigation and intellectual property disputes.
SOURCE Kennedy Law P.C.