SAN ANTONIO – Two women filed a class-action lawsuit in Texas state court in Bexar County against the City of San Antonio, alleging that male supervisors at the City’s Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center routinely targeted female maintenance workers with sexual harassment, gender discrimination, bullying and physical abuse, and created a sexually charged, toxic work environment.
Filed Friday, April 14, the petition alleges that the city-run facility routinely ignored and dismissed claims of the victimized women, while allowing the male perpetrators to continue their abuse. In one notable instance, a male supervisor physically assaulted a female subordinate – an act captured on security cameras – and was given just five days’ suspension.
The filing details how male supervisors of the Convention Center would routinely subject the women to sexualized abuse and bullying, taunting them with lewd verbal comments, sexual sounds, and text and email messages containing highly inappropriate sexual content.
The two named plaintiffs had filed complaints with the Texas Workforce Commission, which recently gave its authorization to file the civil lawsuit.
“We have overwhelming evidence that the city failed to protect these two women from horrible abuse from their male supervisors, and we believe the problem extends far beyond what these two women endured,” said Lynn Ellenberger of FeganScott, the firm representing the women. “That is why we’ve filed this as a class action to represent all current and former female maintenance workers at the city-run facility,”
According to the petition, after the women reported the abuse, their supervisors began a campaign to punish them for stepping forward.
“These women did everything right by reporting the abuse in their chain of command, trusting that the city would follow its policies and protect them,” said Mark Anthony Sanchez, an attorney at San Antonio-based Sanchez & Wilson and co-counsel in the case. “The cold reality is that the city failed them at every step of the way. Not only did the city ignore their cries for help, but it also tacitly gave their abusers a green light to make their lives miserable for stepping forward.”
“It is apparent to us that the city either lacks the desire or the ability to end this sort of reprehensible behavior, and we will use the justice system to force real and lasting change to the city and, specifically, to the hourly female maintenance workers who have no choice but to go to work each day and suffer in this environment to provide for their families,” said Lynn Ellenberger.
Current and former employees of the City of San Antonio Convention Center who would like to speak with FeganScott regarding the claims are urged to send their contact information to SanAntonio@feganscott.com.