Former Woodlands FD employee sues township over sexual harassment, wrongful termination

By John Suayan | Feb 7, 2018

HOUSTON – The Woodlands Township has been implicated in a sex discrimination lawsuit from a woman who used to work for its fire department, recent Houston federal court records show.

Spring resident Julie Thomas sued The Woodlands and its president, Don Norrell, on Feb. 2.

Formerly employed as a customer service representative from 2013 to 2016, Thomas claims she was sexually harassed from numerous firefighters.

Thomas’s husband is a current Woodlands firefighter.

“The Woodlands Township allowed the Woodlands Fire Department to create a hostile work environment permeated by sexual comments, innuendos, and actions,” the suit says.

According to the plaintiff, she “reported the illegal activity through the proper channels” yet the township “conducted a sham investigation” that faulted her and “falsely declared her a willing and enthusiastic participant in her own sexual harassment.”

The fire department terminated the complainant, to which the suit labels as retaliatory.

“No actual business reason was given for Ms. Thomas' termination other than reference to conduct that had occurred months before the actual termination date,” the original petition states.

Consequently, Thomas seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

She is represented by Thomas H. Padgett, Jr. and Josef F. Buenker of The Buenker Law Firm in Houston.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas Case No. 4:18-CV-0313

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