University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name United States v. City of Belen, New Mexico EE-NM-0056
Docket / Court 99-404 ( D.N.M. )
State/Territory New Mexico
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On April 8th, 1999, the United States Department of Justice ("D.O.J") filed a lawsuit under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., against the City of Belen in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. The DOJ sought injunctive relief and demanded a trial by jury, alleging ... read more >
On April 8th, 1999, the United States Department of Justice ("D.O.J") filed a lawsuit under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., against the City of Belen in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. The DOJ sought injunctive relief and demanded a trial by jury, alleging that the defendant violated Title VII by discriminating against female police officers on the basis of their sex.

The DOJ alleged that the discrimination against women took the form of creating, maintaining, and condoning sexual harassment and a sexually hostile work environment at the Belen Police Department ("BPD"), and failing or refusing to promptly and effectively investigate such claims. Furthermore, the DOJ contends that the defendant specifically discriminated against a female employee by suspending and eventually terminating her employment as a Sergeant because of her sex and because she assisted in bringing sexual harassment complaints of other female employees to the attention of management.

On June 21, 2000, the Court (Judge Paul Kelly Jr.) approved and entered a settlement agreement upon joint motion of the parties. General injunctive relief included a prohibition from discriminating on the basis of sex, retaliating, or failing to take prompt and effective steps to remedy and prevent conduct committed by employees in the BPD that constitutes sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or retaliation. The settlement agreement also detailed more specific forms of relief, such as the issuance and posting of the city's sexual harassment policies, amendment of performance evaluation, and equal employment opportunity training program.

Additionally, the settlement agreement appointed an Equal Employment Opportunity Monitor to evaluate the City's effectiveness in preventing sex discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, and assist in investigating and filing all complaints.

On April 7, 2004, the court dissolved the settlement agreement. This case does not appear to be ongoing.

Jennifer Hau - 10/21/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-area
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Retaliation
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) The City of Belen
Plaintiff Description United States, on behalf of female employees
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2000 - 2004
Case Closing Year 2004
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
CIV 99-0404 PK/KBM (D.N.M.) 04/07/2004
EE-NM-0056-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 04/08/1999
EE-NM-0056-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Settlement Agreement 06/21/2000
EE-NM-0056-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Order 04/07/2004 (D.N.M.)
EE-NM-0056-0003.pdf | Detail
Judges Kelly, Paul Joseph Jr. (Tenth Circuit)
EE-NM-0056-0001 | EE-NM-0056-0003 | EE-NM-0056-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Danis, Jodi B (District of Columbia)
EE-NM-0056-0001 | EE-NM-0056-9000
Fenton, William B. (District of Columbia)
EE-NM-0056-0001 | EE-NM-0056-0002 | EE-NM-0056-9000
Foose, Andrew A. (District of Columbia)
EE-NM-0056-0001 | EE-NM-0056-9000
Hamilton, Raymond (New Mexico)
EE-NM-0056-0001
Johnson, Michael W. (District of Columbia)
EE-NM-0056-0001 | EE-NM-0056-0002 | EE-NM-0056-9000
Kelly, John J. (New Mexico)
EE-NM-0056-0002 | EE-NM-0056-9000
Lee, Bill Lann (District of Columbia)
EE-NM-0056-0001 | EE-NM-0056-0002 | EE-NM-0056-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Anderman, Virginia (New Mexico)
EE-NM-0056-0001 | EE-NM-0056-9000
Arbuckle, Barbara Stiles (New Mexico)
EE-NM-0056-9000
Duddleston, David J (Minnesota)
EE-NM-0056-9000
Marshall, Thomas E. (Michigan)
EE-NM-0056-9000
Wright, Molly (Minnesota)
EE-NM-0056-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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