Former Harris County District Attorney employee Denise Garcia has alleged in a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that she was terminated because she invoked various constitutional rights during a traffic stop and because she made a complaint to the Houston Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division. She also claims that she was investigated and fired without being accorded notice of the accusations against her.
The District Attorney strongly denies Ms. Garcia’s accusations. Her termination from employment had nothing to do with her exercise of constitutional rights or with her complaints to the Houston Police Department.
In her EEOC complaint, Ms. Garcia also states, “I was discriminated against because I am Hispanic.”
The District Attorney’s Office did not discriminate against Ms. Garcia on the basis of her race. As will be developed in more detail during the EEOC’s review proceedings, the decision of the District Attorney’s Office to terminate Ms. Garcia was based on a careful factual review of Ms. Garcia’s conduct in which she was accorded an opportunity to be heard. At no point in this process was her Hispanic heritage a factor of any kind in the office’s decision to terminate her employment.
Ms. Garcia’s accusation is particularly disappointing given the District Attorney’s commitment to running an office in which improper discrimination has no place.
“Since taking office two years ago, I have taken great care to ensure that the office is inclusive and encouraging to everyone on the staff,” said District Attorney Devon Anderson. “I have made it clear to our staff that First Assistant Belinda Hill and I have an open-door policy to listen to and act upon any concerns about discriminatory or other inappropriate workplace conduct, without fear of retaliation.”
The District Attorney looks forward to a fair and expeditious review of Ms. Garcia’s complaint in which the facts of Ms. Garcia’s termination will be fully developed.