John Suayan, Galveston Bureau May 22, 2013, 3:26pm

GALVESTON - A former employee of the Galveston County District Clerk's Office accuses the county of firing her for engaging in protected activity and is pursuing legal action.

According to court papers filed May 20 in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas, the county dismissed Tina Longcoy as chief executive officer in retaliation to her opposing "sexual harassment and a hostile work environment" purportedly created by former district clerk Jason Murray.

Longcoy, who worked "off and on" for the district clerk's office for 16 years, explains her ordeal began approximately two years ago when she learned Murray had his eyes set on Amanda Daigle, one of her colleagues, asserting Murray's actions and demeanor made the co-worker feel uncomfortable.

Murray became district clerk by unseating Democrat Latonia Wilson as part of the Republican sweep in virtually every countywide election in November 2010.

Longcoy says she notified two supervisors about Murray's crush on Daigle; however, he supposedly continued his "unwanted and excessive" advances.

The lawsuit further shows the married Murray informed Longcoy during a legislative conference in Austin in August 2011 that she was "cramping [his] style," which the complainant perceived was in reference to his ongoing efforts to get closer to the woman.

It adds Murray allegedly had the plaintiff and Daigle checked out of their hotel room in the middle of the night.

When Longcoy returned to work after the apparent incident, according to the lawsuit, she reported Murray and made it clear that both she and Daigle "were terrified."

The original petition claims the terms and conditions of Longcoy's employment started to change following her complaint as the defendant investigated her for "unprofessional" actions toward the end of 2011.

She was terminated on March, 29, 2012, shortly after talking to the Galveston County District Attorney's Office about Murray, who was facing a plethora of personal and legal troubles at about that time.

Meanwhile, Murray resigned on grounds that he had become a “distraction.”

Longcoy states she and Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Susan Criss had a telephone conversation in which the latter revealed that Murray "was a very scary person" and she understood why the plaintiff feared him.

Her termination could not be properly addressed because the county "no longer accepts grievances for termination and Mr. Murray never adopted the Galveston County Human Resources Policies and Procedures as required by law," the suit says.

The county is ultimately accused of infringing upon Longcoy's civil and First Amendment rights

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Thomas H. Padgett Jr. of Bellaire is representing the complainant.

Case No. 3:13-CV-186

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