Houston Texans says team aware of lawsuit over failing to act on sexual harassment claim

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Former Texans worker inspired by #MeToo movement in suing team

The Houston Texans revealed that a former employee has alleged the team failed to properly act on a sexual harassment claim made with the team more than a year ago.

The former employee filed the lawsuit in Harris County on Friday.

In documents obtained by Eyewitness News, the former worker, who we are not identifying due to the nature of the claims, names the Texans ownership Houston NFL Holdings, LP and the team's former manager of football operations Jason Lowrey as defendants in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims the team fostered an "Alpha-Male environment" where improprieties toward women workers went unpunished and were actually rewarded.

Singling out Lowrey, the lawsuit also claims that he pursued a relationship with her almost immediately after her hiring in 2013, and that Lowrey held a reputation of manipulating and treating female workers "inappropriately and wrongfully for his own pleasure."

The former worker goes on to claim that she knew nothing of Lowrey's alleged reputation and that she felt "obligated to participate in this sexually charged, deviant behavior." At one point, the lawsuit claims, Lowrey groped the former worker in front of other people during a business trip.

The woman claims she attempted to cut off any relationship with Lowrey, who then allegedly stalked her at work, began spreading rumors about her sleeping with players, and making lewd comments and gestures at her in the workplace.

For the team's part, the lawsuit states that the former worker filed a complaint with the team's human resources who informed her of Lowrey's reputation. She claims the team made no effort to conduct a "proper and unbiased investigation" out of fear that it would be discovered.

No disciplinary action was made with Lowrey, who was also promoted, the lawsuit says.

In a statement, the Texans acknowledged a lawsuit was filed by the former worker:

We are aware that a lawsuit was filed earlier today against the Houston Texans alleging, among other things, that the Club failed to properly investigate and respond to a sexual harassment complaint filed by a former employee in November 2016. The Houston Texans take complaints of this nature seriously. Consistent with Club policy, this matter was promptly investigated and addressed at the time the complaint was made. We will vigorously defend ourselves against this litigation.

Lowrey recently parted ways with the team just weeks ago. We tried to speak to Lowrey about the claims at an address listed for him, but we weren't able to reach him.

The lawsuit marks another instance of improprieties made within an NFL club.

Last year, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson allegedly made multiple payouts over workplace misconduct including sexual harassment.

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