The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission—already rocked by allegations of gay-bashing and sexual assault against underage, undercover agents—now faces a sexual harassment lawsuit from one of its officers.
Leigh Sosebee is suing the TABC, claiming a sergeant punished her for a minor infraction by forcing her to do push-ups and sit-ups and that co-workers regularly verbally harassed her and vandalized her desk and computer.
Sosebee’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
A TABC internal affairs investigation corroborated many of Sosebee’s allegations, and led to the firing of the sergeant who made her do the exercises. Among the evidence against the man: a series of sexually inappropriate texts he sent her. Another agent implicated in the harassment resigned in lieu of being fired.
But Sosebee maintains the harassment has continued in the form of increased scrutiny and unfair punishment for minor transgressions. If true, she may have a retaliation case.
The commission’s largest problem is one of image. Two years ago, when TABC agents raided a Fort Worth gay bar, a patron was severely injured. In a separate incident, the commission hired a 16-year-old girl to work in a sting operation to catch bars selling alcohol to underage patrons. A TABC officer sexually assaulted her and is now serving 30 years in prison.
- After employee files internal complaint, beware anything that might look like retaliation
- Don't let your lawsuit fears prevent necessary discipline
- No need to investigate harassment complaints clearly not covered by anti-discrimination laws
- ADA: Making accommodations doesn't mean you accept that employee is disabled
- In discrimination cases, don't bet on Round 1 knockout