A former city of Hidalgo employee claimed in a civil lawsuit last week that the city constructively discharged her in 2022 because of her gender, alleging Mayor Sergio Coronado sexually harassed her prior to her exit.
In her suit, Evelyn Soto — a former water billing clerk who made $27,000 a year — alleges that she was subjected to hostile working conditions and denied pay raises on account of her gender and rebuffing Coronado’s alleged advances.
Coronado and other city officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Soto is suing the city for between $200,000 and $750,000.
According to the suit, Coronado made inappropriate comments toward Soto while she was employed by the city, encouraging her to enter into a relationship and share an apartment with him.
“These comments were completely inappropriate, unwelcome, sexual in nature and placed [Soto] in an awkward and embarrassing situation. These sexual comments persisted, and Mr. Sergio Coronado continued with his unwelcomed verbal advances,” the suit says.
The suit says Soto rebuffed those alleged advances, but feared discussing them lest she lost her job.
“Additionally, [Soto] had to seek a therapist due to the level of stress and unwelcomed harassment she was subjected to,” it says.
By April of last year, Soto alleges she’d been constructively discharged from a hostile work environment based on her gender.
The United States Department of Labor describes a constructive discharge as generally referring to an employee’s resignation or retirement being made involuntarily because of a hostile work environment or other forms of pressure to leave the post.
In addition to that alleged discharge, the suit claims Soto was denied pay raises based on her gender and spurning Coronado’s alleged advances.
The suit claims that Soto has lost earnings as a result of the alleged impropriety, and also claims she suffered physical and mental anguish.
Coronado has served as mayor of Hidalgo since 2018.
He is also employed as the superintendent of the Progreso Independent School District.