A federal lawsuit against the University of Texas Medical Branch accuses the facility of retaliating against a whistleblower who reporter alleged improper practices. The previous head veterinarian claims he was highly accomplished and had an excellent track record during the little over two years that he was in his position. He claims his termination was directly tied to his discovery that the UTMB was not adequately caring for the animals.
The plaintiff alleges that he soon realized what the UTMB was doing was in direct conflict with the best interests of the animals. The veterinarian purports that he brought forth his concerns over the conflicting practices, but his thoughts were reproved. Even though he had a great track record and reputation, he claims that he soon lost his influence in decision making after his complaints and was told he was not playing his part as a team player.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases conducted a study and reportedly revealed that UTMB had been covering up the causes of the deaths of animals and that eight monkeys died painfully because proper protocols had not been followed. After being asked to be part of what he believed to be illegal activities, the plaintiff grew ill from the stress. The day the plaintiff was allegedly going to discuss his complaints, he was sent home.
The plaintiff asserts his termination occurred the following day. He alleges it was because he was going to discuss the unlawful activity and it was a way to silence his rights as a whistleblower. A spokesperson for the University of Texas Medical Branch denied a majority of the allegations. It did, however, admit to the unreported deaths of the monkeys, faulting the reporting policy for the error. The outcome of this case has not yet been determined.
Source: chron.com, "Former UTMB veterinarian alleges he was fired for being a whistleblower", Emily Foxhall, Feb. 11, 2016