Five former officers with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission say state officials retaliated against them by firing them without cause last month. This week they announced plans to sue the agency, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
All belonged to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Officers Association. The union members had expressed concern over the commission’s operation, including questioning whether undercover operations were being done with enough agents, the newspaper reported.
“Obviously, command staff didn’t like that,” attorney Randall Moore told the Statesman. “This is the most blatant First Amendment speech and retaliatory termination case I’ve ever seen.”
The TABC declined to comment to the newspaper on specific employment issues.
On June 19, the TABC fired Shawn Miesner, Shawn Miller, Tricia Rutledge, Freddy Alvarez and Chase Glover. Glover served as the union president and Alvarez was vice president.
Miller said the fired agents, together, had more than 60 years of TABC experience and over 100 years in law enforcement.
“They’re highly regarded by their peers. They have no significant discipline history. The TABC is already short [of] agents, and they let go some of the most experienced and well-respected agents they have,” he told the Statesman.
The Texas Municipal Police Association, which represents law enforcement officers across the state, will pay the costs of the lawsuit. Some of the agents have also filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the newspaper reported.