Former Uvalde Excessive educational dean suing UCISD over job loss

Jospeh Olan

The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District is involved in a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by U.S. Army veteran Joseph Olan, who was previously dean of Uvalde High School and currently director of Sacred Heart Catholic School.

Olan started working at UCISD in August 2017 and was fired on April 15, 2019 while on leave for surgery. He is looking for lost wages and benefits, and his lawyer said there will be an opportunity for a jury to compensate for emotional stress.

Olan alleges that UCISD engaged in unlawful discrimination and retaliation for disability by terminating his employment relationship, but the email he received from UCISD Superintendent Hal Harrell indicated that Olan was removed from his post for failing was able to work with supervisors and employees.

Neither Olan nor UCISD officials commented on the lawsuit when they were contacted by newspaper workers.

According to the lawsuit he filed in federal court, Olan is classified as 70 percent disabled and has undergone multiple back surgeries over the years for ailments related to his lumbar spine.

According to the lawsuit, Olan was on temporary leave related to the Family and Sick Leave Act from November 2018 to March 2019 and had advised administrators that he would need additional leave.

The Family Medical Leave Act is a U.S. labor law that gives eligible employees of insured employers the right to take unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons, as specified by the Department of Labor.

On March 28, 2019, Olan had another operation to relieve back pain.

Almost two weeks after the operation, Olan was released from his position. On April 24, 2019, Olan received Harrell’s email informing Olan of Harrell’s support for a recommendation to terminate Olan’s trial contract. The email stated that on April 15, the district’s board of trustees voted to terminate his contract.

A year later, in April 2020, Olan’s attorney, Michael V. Galo Jr. of the Galo law firm, San Antonio, filed a lawsuit in the western district of Texas alleging that UCISD had violated the American with Disabilities Act, the Texas Commission on, violate human rights and the law on family and sick leave.

Galo said Olan had several glowing letters of recommendation and was someone who “got on with everyone”. Olan also received the “Employee of the Month” award in December 2017.

UCISD’s attorney, Katie Payne of Walsh Gallegos, filed a response in June 2020 in which she made no allegations of wrongdoing. The UCISD states that there is no need for relief and that the offending measures, practices or guidelines were taken on a non-discrimination basis. UCISD’s legal advisor claims that these measures were taken for an important reason.

The litigation is currently in the discovery phase, with case information and debris being collected.

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