Collin County officials have reached a settlement agreement in a lawsuit brought by employees alleging sexual harassment and retaliation from the district attorney’s office.
Details about the settlement have not been made public at the time of publication. While it will be finalized at a later date, Fox 4 News reported that it would be paid through county insurance.
The 75-page federal lawsuit filed in October alleged that District Attorney Greg Willis flirted, inappropriately touched, and made sexual advances toward female employees. The lawsuit also alleged that First Assistant District Attorney Bill Wirskye targeted women and fostered a toxic workplace.
The lawsuit was filed by three former employees, the district attorney’s chief and deputy chief investigators, and a current prosecutor, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. In addition to the lawsuit, each plaintiff filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Texas Workforce Commission as well.
“The Collin County District Attorney’s Office is supposed to be a principled law enforcement unit that exhibits irreproachable workplace ethics and a steadfast commitment to equal protection under law,” the lawsuit stated.
“Instead, as set forth in the paragraphs below, District Attorney Greg Willis treats many female employees as objects that, without their consent, must gratify his sexual impulses and personal vanity, while First Assistant Bill Wirskye runs the office as a crass, misogynistic fraternity complete with systemic hazing of the County’s attorneys, investigators and staff,” the complaint continued.
County Judge Chris Hill and commissioners Cheryl Williams, Susan Fletcher, Darrell Hale, and Duncan Webb were all named for allegedly knowing about the conduct and helping cover it up. The lawsuit claimed they “have known of this misconduct for years but have continued to enable it by refusing to take remedial action or even conduct a reasonable investigation.”
Willis denied the allegations in November, calling them false and politically motivated.
“The citizens of Collin County deserve better than these dishonest and politically motivated attacks that waste time and money. I categorically and unequivocally deny these false allegations. They did not happen,” said Willis to Fox 4 News in a statement.
Wirskye agreed with Willis and said the lawsuit was politically motivated and timed.
“This is obviously a politically motivated and politically timed lawsuit based on lies and recycled untruths by some very disgruntled and very troubled individuals. It is a shame for all the good people who work in the Collin County District Attorney’s Office and our County Officials to have to suffer through these untruthful personal attacks. I can’t wait to get into court and clear my name,” said Wirskye in a statement, per Fox 4 news.
If they treated their coworkers with illegal and unethical behavior just imagine what they did to the defendants before them.
Why should I join the discussion! It takes 2 days before the Dallas Express approved comments. By then, the story is buried.
Years ago on the job, a couple of young men from maintenance and I were waiting for an elevator. One of them looked at me and said, “I see you got a Cadillac”. That sure has a big back seat.”. He and the other chuckled. Now I had known those 2 for several years. They were just being typical guys. I didn’t feel the need to have some women’s coalition come to my rescue. I was 5 ’10” and have a somewhat aggressive personality . I simply gave them a look that would make people want to run home backward to Mama and said, “Let me tell you something, son. You don’t need to worry about my back seat.”. That wiped the grins from their faces and they shut up. We still talked and cut up after that but they found out I wasn’t going to tolerate that kind of behavior.