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Ex-lottery employee claims bias complaint led to firing

Texas LotteryTexas Lottery: Ex-lottery employee claims bias complaint led to firing

A former Texas Lottery employee who was fired in June shortly after receiving an excellent performance evaluation has sued the $3.5 billion agency, claiming she was fired because she complained about "national origin discrimination."

Former administrative assistant Cynthia Suarez, who is Hispanic, claimed in the lawsuit filed Thursday that the lottery's human resources director often "criticized, belittled and yelled" at her in a "hostile and belligerent manner." She also claimed she was denied a higher-level position.

When Suarez complained to administration director Mike Fernandez about her supervisor's alleged prejudice against her and "track record of mistreating Hispanic administrative assistants," the lawsuit states that Suarez was fired on her next day at work.

Suarez had received no prior warning that her job was in jeopardy and she was not told why she was fired, the lawsuit says.

Lottery spokesman Bobby Heith declined to comment, saying, "We won't discuss personnel issues or discuss pending litigation."

Lottery officials have argued in the past that state employees, with few exceptions, serve at the will of their employers and can be fired for any reason.

Suarez was one of more than a dozen former lottery employees who have complained about a pattern of abrupt, no-reason-given firings of at-will workers. The state auditor has agreed to investigate.

Suarez said Monday she hoped to set an example for other fired employees who have not come forward.

"It was wrong what they did to me," Suarez said. "I've lost money. It took me five months to find a job. It's been very difficult and I think they need to pay for it."

Suarez is seeking reinstatement and other injunctive relief, lost wages, compensatory damages and attorneys' fees.

Houston Chronicle

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7 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by johnph77.
Page 1 of 1
mylollipop's avatar - Trek STLOGO6.png

United States
Member #24380
October 21, 2005
623 Posts
Offline
Posted: January 31, 2006, 1:38 pm - IP Logged

"At will" employment is a tricky phrase.  Companies like to throw that term at you, but when you leave, they say you need to give them notice so they can employ someone to replace you.  "At will" is prevalent in a lot of companies.  Sounds to me like you are better off, NOT going back to that company.  There is ALWAYS something better.  Look at it as the kick out needed to get kicked into something better.Sun Smiley

    Avatar
    Sparta, NJ
    United States
    Member #18331
    July 9, 2005
    1977 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: January 31, 2006, 6:35 pm - IP Logged

    Cynthia Suarez has obviously over looked the fact that this is America!   Who does she think she is?  Begone heathen, begone!  Where are the stone throwers when we need them?   The freedom to speak her mind is not guaranteed any where in any official document!   Maybe now she will learn to be politically correct and hide her true feelings!

    Cheers

    |||::> *'`*:-.,_,.-:*''*:--->>> Chewie  <<<---.*''*:-.,_,.-:*''* <:::|||

    I only trust myself - and that's a questionable choice

      Avatar
      New Member

      United States
      Member #31425
      January 29, 2006
      18 Posts
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      Posted: February 1, 2006, 2:10 pm - IP Logged

      Cynthia Suarez is but one of many in Texas who worked at the Texas lottery and have been fired. A lot of corruption at theTexas lottery operation and when Mr. Litwin years ago was named director of the lottery he was fired 3 months into his investagtion to clean up this Agency. I live in Texas and can tell you that this lottery is full of corruption. What I think keeps the corruption going is when litigation is persued and the plantiff agrees to settlement with the written promise not to reveal to the public what they know. This ought to be against the law. When a company or State Agency is out of order, redress is in the court setting. When deals are cut to pay off the person wronged, no Agency or Company, should be able to offer that person a settlement that includes invoking secrecy. Texas is a right to work state and fire at will without probable cause. The Commissioners appointed are going to do what the Governor tells them. The people have no say in anything in this country. Freedom of speech is a joke. Telling the truth gets you fired. Where's the Right winged Christain Leadership on Lying and Stealing? They seem more concerned about prayer in schools than holding corrupt officals accountable, or is that commandment thou shall not steal not important to their cause?

        Avatar
        Northern California
        United States
        Member #19948
        August 9, 2005
        151 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: February 1, 2006, 3:14 pm - IP Logged

        oh yeah - poor Mr. Litwin was a real altruist who got in the way of all that corruption...

         

        Litwin was a long time employee of GTECH's then competitor who had the (at the very least) incredibly poor judgement to direct his security people to start investigating members of the Legislature. He had absolutely no authority to do that. If he had real reason to believe there was funny business going on, he should have shared that info with the local District Attorney, the TX AG or even the FBI.

         

        He deserved to get fired - no doubt about it.

         

        I don't know Miss Suarez but it looks to me like the lottery has overdone the "at will firing" thing.  Letting good people go for no good reason is unethical and bad for both morale and productivity.

          Avatar
          New Member

          United States
          Member #31425
          January 29, 2006
          18 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: February 3, 2006, 5:13 pm - IP Logged

          Cynthia Suarez is but one of many in Texas who worked at the Texas lottery and have been fired. A lot of corruption at theTexas lottery operation and when Mr. Litwin years ago was named director of the lottery he was fired 3 months into his investagtion to clean up this Agency. I live in Texas and can tell you that this lottery is full of corruption. What I think keeps the corruption going is when litigation is persued and the plantiff agrees to settlement with the written promise not to reveal to the public what they know. This ought to be against the law. When a company or State Agency is out of order, redress is in the court setting. When deals are cut to pay off the person wronged, no Agency or Company, should be able to offer that person a settlement that includes invoking secrecy. Texas is a right to work state and fire at will without probable cause. The Commissioners appointed are going to do what the Governor tells them. The people have no say in anything in this country. Freedom of speech is a joke. Telling the truth gets you fired. Where's the Right winged Christain Leadership on Lying and Stealing? They seem more concerned about prayer in schools than holding corrupt officals accountable, or is that commandment thou shall not steal not important to their cause?

            mylollipop's avatar - Trek STLOGO6.png

            United States
            Member #24380
            October 21, 2005
            623 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: February 4, 2006, 9:08 am - IP Logged

            Cynthia Suarez is but one of many in Texas who worked at the Texas lottery and have been fired. A lot of corruption at theTexas lottery operation and when Mr. Litwin years ago was named director of the lottery he was fired 3 months into his investagtion to clean up this Agency. I live in Texas and can tell you that this lottery is full of corruption. What I think keeps the corruption going is when litigation is persued and the plantiff agrees to settlement with the written promise not to reveal to the public what they know. This ought to be against the law. When a company or State Agency is out of order, redress is in the court setting. When deals are cut to pay off the person wronged, no Agency or Company, should be able to offer that person a settlement that includes invoking secrecy. Texas is a right to work state and fire at will without probable cause. The Commissioners appointed are going to do what the Governor tells them. The people have no say in anything in this country. Freedom of speech is a joke. Telling the truth gets you fired. Where's the Right winged Christain Leadership on Lying and Stealing? They seem more concerned about prayer in schools than holding corrupt officals accountable, or is that commandment thou shall not steal not important to their cause?

            There are a lot of Judases some where.  I have learned to choose the battles I fight.  The way to win the Texas corruption war is to make 'em go BROKE!  Keep on suing, despite the fact there is a gag order.  The more suits, the less they have to work with.  The dollar drives.

              johnph77's avatar - avatar
              CA
              United States
              Member #2987
              December 10, 2003
              832 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: February 4, 2006, 12:24 pm - IP Logged

              she was not told why she was fired, the lawsuit says.

              One of the problems she will encounter in her lawsuit is that the Texas Lottery Commission may be a quasi-government organization - the employees don't work for the state (the commission would not be bound by state personnel regulations), they work for the Commission, and the Commission is regarded as a separate corporation. If this is not true, then state regulations govern the firing and Ms. Suarez should have been given written notification of her separation, and the reason(s) thereof.

              In any case, I cannot imagine how her supervisor would have given her an "excellent" performance evaluation then separated her soon thereafter. If he was indeed dissatisfied with her job performance this woud have not ocurred. Or he simply may have been lazy in his role in the performance evaluation process.

              Blessed Saint Leibowitz, keep 'em dreamin' down there..... 

              Next week's convention for Psychics and Prognosticators has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.

               =^.^=