Houston Employment Lawyer Charles H. Peckham Files $50 Million Discrimination Lawsuit Against Montgomery County Juvenile Probation Department and Conroe ISD

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Therapist Fired for Fighting Discrimination of Diabetic Teen

“It is the wrong message to send to our children that if you are disabled, you do not deserve to have the same opportunities to learn and succeed.” - Charles H Peckham

Houston Employment Lawyer Charles H. Peckham announced today that he has filed a $50 million discrimination lawsuit against the Montgomery County Juvenile Probation Department (MCJPD) and Conroe Independent School District (CISD) on behalf of Sandra Surace for wrongful termination and discrimination.

The discrimination lawsuit (4:10-cv-03363) filed in Houston Federal Court this week, is related to Sandra Surace’s work as a therapist working for MCJPD. Surace was relieved of her job responsibilities and barred from CISD campuses after she assisted a mother in obtaining legally required facilities and treatment for her diabetes-disabled teen child.

The suit alleges when Surace began to expose the discriminatory actions of CISD staff and their treatment of disabled children, CISD barred her from their campuses. The suit also alleges the General Counsel for CISD called MCJPD, Surace’s employer, and said she was not to be assigned to assist children in CISD – the majority of her duties. This resulted in Surace’s constructive termination from employment.

Houston employment attorney Charles H. Peckham is filing the suit on behalf of Surace. “This is not about the money, but is to send a message to CISD and Montgomery County that disabled children are not second-class citizens,” said Peckham. “It is the wrong message to send to our children that if you are disabled, you do not deserve to have the same opportunities to learn and succeed.”

The suit alleges violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, Constitutional free speech rights and defamation. Surace lost her job, her reputation, and has suffered emotional and physical harm and distress simply because she did what was morally and legally required of a therapist. Surace worked to bring to the attention of CISD they were not following the law in accommodating the disabilities of children as required by state and federal law.

“It is not right that they could do this to the children of Montgomery County,” stated Surace. “This attempt to silence the parents of disabled children and to try to silence me by stealing my career means that we must look to the Courts to get their attention.”

Surace has written a book on the subject of parents helping their children with medical problems. The book , What’s Wrong with My Child?: Navigating through the Maze of Diagnostic Information, was released for publication in August, 2010.

Charles Peckham of the Houston employment law firm of Peckham PLLC is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. No stranger to high profile cases, Peckham is currently working as the civil attorney for Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor accused of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. He is additionally representing famed radio personality and comedian George Willborn and his family who were refused the ability to purchase a home in Chicago, Illinois because of the color of their skin. Charles Peckham concentrates in many areas of litigation including employment, real estate, commercial and aviation law.

Sandra Surace is a therapist raising a child on the autistic spectrum. Her understanding of and insight into human behavior is enlightening. Her début work “What’s Wrong With My Child?” is a chronicle of the challenges she faced trying to get answers and help for her child, and the conflict and contradictions in diagnoses that further complicated getting the help he needed. Her case study was accepted by Stanford University where she presented data uncovered in trying to better understand her son’s behavior. Her ability to simplify an array of very complicated information stems from her heart-felt intention to help others understand how to avoid being misled through the diagnostic process.


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Miranda Sevcik

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