Court of Appeals of Texas, First District, Houston
Rehearing Overruled Aug. 13, 1997.
W. Watts, Houston, for appellant.
Schneider-Vogel, Christopher Blewer Gilbert, Houston, for
COHEN and HEDGES, JJ.
Janik, was discharged from her position as a school district
clerk. She sued the district and her former supervisor for
wrongful discharge. Appellees, the Lamar Independent
Consolidated School District (LISD) and Kathy Graeber-Raley,
filed a plea to the jurisdiction. In this appeal, we are
asked to determine if the trial court properly granted the
plea. In three points of error, Janik contends the trial
court erred in granting the plea to the jurisdiction because:
(1) when an action is grounded in the constitution, it is not
necessary for a plaintiff to exhaust her administrative
remedies; (2) she meets the requirements of other exceptions
to the general rule of exhaustion of remedies; and (3) LISD
and Graeber-Raley did not overcome a standard of review
Janik worked for 12
years as an at-will employee for LISD. Janik and
Graeber-Raley offer contradictory versions of the events
leading to Janik's discharge. According to Graeber-Raley,
she was displeased with Janik's job performance,
particularly with her inability to master computer word
processing. Graeber-Raley also believed Janik had a poor
attitude, was inept at dealing with fellow employees, and
shifted an inappropriate amount of work to her student
helper. After a two-month trial period in which Janik's
job deficiencies were addressed, Graeber-Raley decided to
terminate Janik. She offered her the option of resigning, but
Janik walked off the job and never returned.
Janik contends she
told Graeber-Raley she needed additional help to complete her
job (processing worker's compensation claims) and, if she
didn't get it, she and her supervisor would resign and
their story would be in the newspapers. Janik contends
Graeber-Raley began to micromanage her work and engaged in a
series of actions designed to harass her. Janik further
alleges Graeber-Raley intended from the outset to replace her
with a younger Hispanic woman, and that the reasons offered
for her termination were merely pretext.
engaged an attorney; she did not pursue any administrative
remedies before filing suit. She contends she was unaware of
the grievance procedure and was never informed about it ...