Watch CBS News

Employee Sues Dallas County And Former Health Director Claiming Sexual Abuse, Harassment

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A Dallas County employee is suing the county and her former boss, fired Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson, claiming sexual abuse, harassment and retaliation.

In an emotional interview, Lynette Smith-Clay broke her silence about her complaint and explained how difficult it was for her to come forward and share her story. "This will have an indelible impact on my life for the rest of my life. This is something I have to deal with. I wake up at night thinking of this. I wake up at night thinking about the things this person has done. He knows that it was wrong."

Smith-Clay claims Thompson sexually assaulted her, and that he and the county harassed and retaliated against her.

Lynette Smith-Clay
Lynette Smith-Clay

According to the lawsuit, Thompson is accused of making sexual advances between 2013 and 2015, first in a hotel room during a Washington, DC conference, then in county offices.

Smith-Clay says Thompson reminded her during the sexual encounters that he was her boss and asked her if she liked her job.

The lawsuit says after she avoided him, he filed grievances against her.

She says after filing a formal complaint with the county last December, the county asked her to withdraw her complaint against Thompson, but she refused.

Smith-Clay is seeking $300,000 from Dallas County and $300,000 from Thompson.

Zachary Thompson
Zachary Thompson

She rejects those who've cast doubt on her story. "It's very, very difficult. It's hurtful, it's insulting, quite frankly it's insane that someone would suggest something like that."

Smith-Clay remains as the county health department's Grants Management Officer, and says she's dealt with a difficult situation for too long. "I went into survival mode and that's where I've been and it's been very, very difficult. By no means has this been easy."

Dallas County fired Thompson in January, about one month after Smith-Clay filed her complaint.

In a statement, Thompson said, "I haven't had a chance to read the petition as of yet, but Mr. Thompson stands by his earlier denial with respect to any violations of Dallas County Employment Policy."

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins declined comment on the lawsuit.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.