AUGUSTA — Two former employees of Maine’s Office of Information Technology have filed a federal lawsuit alleging the agency has a culture of corruption and sexual harassment.

Teresa L. Gordon and Kayla Marie Cole say in their February lawsuit that the office failed to investigate a sexual harassment claim they made and that it illegally approved an $8 million contract. They also allege the office began an investigation of them in retaliation for their complaints of harassment and about the contract.

Gordon was fired in September after 31 years of service; Cole resigned after being suspended in December, the lawsuit says.

“The bogus ‘investigation’ and ultimate discipline of Cole and termination of Gordon was in retaliation for reporting unlawful sexual harassment, a hostile work environment and discrimination and for blowing the whistle” on the contract, the women say in their lawsuit.

The Maine Attorney General’s Office, which would be representing the IT office in the case, declined to comment on the pending litigation.

The lawsuit asks for a court order declaring the alleged practices unlawful, and seeks damages.

According to the complaint, Gordon and Cole reported in the fall of 2015 that the IT office had entered into an $8 million contract with a private company without following Maine’s competitive bidding process or requesting proposals. They say the contract was given to a company after it hired a state department official.

The following year, in February, they say they reported rejected sexual advances toward Cole. The two women were told later that month by the agency that they were under investigation for allegedly falsifying time and attendance records, among other reasons, the lawsuit says.

Attorney Cynthia Dill, who represents Gordon and Cole, said it’s been seven months since they filed a public records request for the contract and other documents.

“The timing of the state’s investigation and harsh punishment is suspect, and when combined with other evidence will make for an interesting and important case,” Dill said.

The lawsuit says Gordon and Cole became “so overwhelmed with anxiety and fear that they sought medical treatment.”

Dill writes a weekly column for the Maine Sunday Telegram.