On November 4, 2022, two women filed legal charges with the Texas Workforce Commission, Civil Rights Division, against the City of San Antonio, alleging that supervisors at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center routinely targeted female maintenance employees with sexual harassment, age discrimination, bullying and physical abuse, and created a sexually charged, toxic work environment.
According to the filings, supervisors of the city-run facility would routinely subject the women to sexualized abuse and bullying, taunting them with lewd and lascivious verbal comments, sexual sounds, and electronic communications containing highly inappropriate sexual content.
Both women complained about the supervisors’ aberrant behavior to management, but those complaints were ignored, according to the filings.
“These women knew that when they came to work each day, they would likely face a barrage of harassment by their supervisors,” said Lynn Ellenberger of FeganScott, the firm representing the women. “They were denied the opportunity to earn a wage for their families in a safe workplace, and we plan to hold the city responsible for allowing this environment to flourish at the convention center.”
According to Ellenberger, after the women reported the abuse, their supervisors began a retaliation campaign to punish them for stepping forward.
“After reporting the conduct to human resources and in their chain of command as they are required, the women became targets of increased bullying and verbal abuse seemingly in retaliation, but also, we suspect, to send a warning to others about the price of stepping forward,” Ellenberger said.
“While these two women have stepped forward, we believe from our investigation that the issues go far beyond just these two women,” Ellenberger added. “It is apparent to us that the city either lacks the desire or the ability to end this sort of behavior. We look forward to bringing real and lasting change to the city and, specifically, to the convention center on behalf of all the female maintenance workers.”
The filing with the Texas Workforce Commission is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit, which FeganScott is poised to do once it has received a right-to-sue letter. Once that letter has been received, the firm can pursue claims on behalf of their clients against the city.
Current and former employees of the City of San Antonio who would like to speak with FeganScott regarding the claims are urged to send their contact information to SanAntonio@feganscott.com.