ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—A former attorney and spokeswoman for Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston has filed a lawsuit claiming she was retaliated against after raising concerns about discrimination and sexual harassment against Hispanic women in the Sheriff's Office.

Jennifer Vega-Brown tells the Albuquerque Journal ( http://bit.ly/OqD2P4) it was "hell" working for Houston. She was told last week that she was being fired.

Houston told the Journal Wednesday that he did use some derogatory terms to describe Vega-Brown and another female sheriff's employee but says he was just repeating allegations made by someone else.

The sheriff says he fired Vega-Brown for poor job performance. He also denied making some of the derogatory comments attributed to him in the lawsuit.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com