Former AISD peace officer says he was fired for reporting workplace violations

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A former peace officer for Austin Independent School District is suing because he says he was retaliated against after he reported several violations in the workplace.

According to the lawsuit, Rodney Anderson, who worked for the AISD Police Department from January 1995 to April 2019, says that he was intimidated and retaliated against after he reported several occurrences he deemed as violations of state and local statutes.

From June 2017 until January 2019, Anderson says he observed and reported:

  • An incident recorded on video where an AISD sergeant reportedly slapped and used extreme language toward a handcuffed student that was in detention. Anderson says that he complained to the school board that the department’s discipline of the sergeant was minimal and “disgraceful.”
  • two instances when the same sergeant was reportedly sleeping in public
  • an instance when the sergeant reportedly sexually harassed a subordinate female officer
  • mishandling of a Feb. 22, 2018, terroristic threat at Akins High School by several officials that he believed put several lives at risk
  • several months during which the same sergeant he’d complained about had worked overtime duty while on family/medical leave

According to the lawsuit, Anderson submitted a letter to the AISD Board of Trustees reporting his complaints in March and then a grievance on April 7.

Anderson then says he was on the receiving end of various retaliatory actions by several AISD officials (including the sergeant he’d reported).

Actions allegedly included:

  • reportedly being intimated to change his report
  • being transferred from his command to another, which increased his commute home by about 1.5 hours per day
  • being reported for removing the sergeant from an overtime assignment for one-half day’s duty at a baseball tournament, which was reportedly scheduled due to an error
  • being placed on administrative leave on April 5, 2019, after the sergeant reported him because of the baseball tournament incident

The lawsuit then says AISD terminated Anderson’s employment completely on April 10, 2019.

The lawsuit states, “AISD chose to trash a 30-year career of honorable service over a dust-up with a subordinate employee’s complaint regarding one-half day’s overtime duty at a baseball tournament.”

Anderson is requesting a trial by jury and seeking reinstatement, restitution of back pay and benefits, and court cost/attorney fees.

AISD responded with this statement to KXAN: “We can confirm receipt of the suit. As a practice, we do not comment on pending litigation, but our legal team is prepared to represent Austin ISD.”

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