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Former employee files suit against Office Depot relating to 2019 Odessa Mass shooting

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 12:48 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) -A former Office Depot employee says she was forced to go outside the building during the Odessa mass shooting that happened back in August of 2019 which killed 8 and injured 21.

According to a statement released by the NLC Law Group based in Houston, managers at the Office Depot on 42nd street told an employee to go outside to see what was happening after they received word of the shooting.

According to the release, Sara Luebano, a former employee, was told by a manager that she needed to go outside and ask police “what was going on with the situation.” Luebano asked if the manager, Dieter Mullen, wanted her to walk outside, he said yes and that he’d stay on the phone with her. Around 4pm, she went outside where a police officer told her to go back into the store and lock it.

The release says over the course of the next 9 minutes she got more calls from Mullen and another manager, Hector Arellano, with conflicting information on whether to close the store or not.

NLC Law Group says Luebano reached out to human resources about how the situation was handled. Two months later Mullen and Arellano put her on a Performance Improvement Plant, which according to the lawsuit, was the first time she had been disciplined in her 3 years of employment.

“These were tasks and obligations she was accused of failing to fulfill on days she was not working, days she wasn’t scheduled to work, and days she was on vacation,” So, it’s kind of hard to fail a task that you couldn’t have assigned during a vacation. So, it’s just laughable. If you’re going to set someone up, you’re going to have to be better at it,” said Luebano’s lawyer, Lucy Chukwurah.

Luebano refused to sign the paperwork.

“We subsequently have an email from these members of management dated Oct. 14th, saying that they wanted to terminate her, with Office Depot’s human resources representative identifying that the performance improvement plan upon which her termination would be based was based on false information,” said Chukwurah.

The lawsuit goes on to say that Luebano went on medical leave in June of 2020 because of her trauma from the incident. She was released to go back to work with restrictions but ultimately was told that she was fired in January of this year.

Luebano’s lawsuit against Office Depot accuses the company of retaliation, Family Medical Leave Act interference, discrimination based on disability, and employment termination.

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