Harris County

Harris County fires IT chief Rick Noriega, citing refusal to take mandatory sexual harassment training

The retired major general and unsuccessful U.S. Senate candidate is threatening to sue county leaders for wrongful termination and defamation, according to multiple news outlets.


FILE: Rick Noriega was fired from Harris County after failing to complete sexual harassment training.

Retired Major General Richard J. “Rick” Noriega was fired Tuesday from his post as executive director of Universal Services for Harris County. According to multiple news outlets, Noriega is threatening to sue County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Interim County Administrator Diana Ramirez for "retaliatory and defamatory conduct."

In an internal memo Diana Ramirez to Noriega, dated Tuesday, Ramirez said that she had determined a change in leadership was required due to Noriega's refusal to complete mandatory sexual harassment training. As a result, Noriega was fired, effective immediately.

A county employee accused Noriega of sexual harassment in December, and an investigation into the complaint was completed in April.

Noriega was hired as Chief Information Officer for Universal Services in 2020. Previously, he represented Houston in the Texas House of Representatives from 1998 to 2009. He ran an unsuccessful campaign for U.S. Senate against Senator John Cornyn in 2008.

Attempts to reach Noriega for comment have yet to be returned.

Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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