Imagine a job where a shirtless human resources director asks you to feel his pecs and says he made hires based on 8×10 photos. Where another high-ranking employee regularly talked about his sexual preferences and being naked at home.
And you could lose your job for complaining.
Two women — Kimberly Wilson and Brandi Bull — filed lawsuits in federal court this week against the city of Rowlett, saying this was their reality. The lawsuits claim Rowlett violated the Texas Whistleblower Protection Act, allowed sexual harassment and a hostile work environment and retaliated against them for complaining and bringing other problems to the attention of their superiors.
Wilson was the city’s chief financial officer and Bull worked in human resources until they were fired last year. The women claim that the men responsible for the untenable situation were human resources director John Murray, Police Chief Mike Broadnax and City Manager Brian Funderburk.
Funderburk said in a brief interview Friday that the city takes allegations of sexual harassment seriously. But he declined to discuss the claims and added only “we deny any allegation that state and federal laws have been violated.”
Broadnax, in an email, said “I’m not able to speak about anything regarding the lawsuit. I truly wish I could because there is always two sides to every story. Our side will eventually come out through the court system process. I have to follow our attorney’s guidelines.”
Murray could not be reached for comment and no longer works for the city. A spokeswoman for Rowlett did not respond to requests seeking comment. The city has not yet filed a response to the lawsuits. An attorney for the women, Andrea Loveless, did not respond to a request for comment.