Dallas County jail maintenance worker alleges anti-gay jokes added to hostile environment

David Womble

One of the three plaintiffs suing Dallas County for $60 million for racial discrimination says anti-gay remarks and jokes were also part of the harassment he suffered.

R.L. Lawson, 41, complained that David Womble, a quality assurance supervisor of facilities management of Dallas County, “engaged in negligent homosexual jokes and remarks toward another employee” in a meeting in October 2010.

Lawson alleges that the comments “further caused a hostile work environment,” according to the lawsuit. At a later meeting, Womble “engaged in unwarranted and demeaning homosexual jokes, ridicule and mockery at the expense of a co-worker of Plaintiff Lawson.”

Womble’s behavior also allegedly included wearing fake gold teeth and impersonating a black person with an exaggerated walk while making racial comments, according to the lawsuit. After Lawson complained about the anti-gay remarks, a black soda can was hanging from a noose in the office.

Womble, who is one of four individual defendants in the lawsuit in addition to the county and the Commissioners Court, later received a pay raise after Lawson complained about the racial and anti-gay comments.

Womble has a past of anti-gay comments. He was reprimanded in 2003 for similar comments and again 2009 for making inappropriate comments to two female employees, according to The Dallas Morning News.

County officials have begun investigating the racial discrimination claims.

—  Anna Waugh