THE WOODLANDS, Texas - A newly filed lawsuit in federal court contains some shocking allegations that include claims of harassment and retaliation.
Julie Thomas is the Spring woman suing The Woodlands Township.
"I want their broken system to be fixed," Thomas told Eyewitness News. "I want the firefighters to own up to what they did. I want justice."
Thomas claims that while she worked for The Woodlands Fire Department at its main building on Grogan's Mill Road, she was repeatedly harassed, especially after she lost weight.
The harassment, she says, was often sexual in nature and sometimes explicit. We cannot share with you online the language she claims was used. Thomas said she complained repeatedly and followed The Township's guidelines for reporting harassment. But nothing happened.
"They're not doing anything," said her attorney Tom Padgett. "Anything that they do is victim shaming. What they did was they conducted a sham investigation and then turned on Mrs. Thomas."
Thomas' husband is a long-time firefighter at the department. While his job remains unaffected, the suit claims after her formal complaints, she was denied a raise and then fired.
"I absolutely loved my job there," she said. "I loved working with the community. I'm not saying every firefighter is bad. That's not what I'm saying. So I loved working with most of them "
For its part, The Woodlands Township's attorney says it's too early in the case to talk specifics. But she says the accusations in the case filing are just that.
"Just because it's filed, it doesn't necessarily mean it's accurate," said attorney Carla Cotropia, who represents The Woodlands Township. "There are statements in here that, if true, would be outrageous. We don't believe they are based on our investigations. And it is most troubling to accuse the township of not caring or not investigating. And that's simply not true."
Thomas said ultimately she wants the township to admit fault, for it to fix what she calls a broken system, and for her to get her job back.
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