University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name United States v. Northwest New Mexico Regional Solid Waste Authority EE-NM-0061
Docket / Court 1:02-cv-00316-RLP-WDS ( D.N.M. )
State/Territory New Mexico
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection IWPR/Wage Project Consent Decree Study
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On March 20, 2002, the United States filed a lawsuit under Title VII against the Northwest New Mexico Regional Solid Waste Authority (the "Authority") in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. The Department of Justice alleged that the Authority had discriminated against ... read more >
On March 20, 2002, the United States filed a lawsuit under Title VII against the Northwest New Mexico Regional Solid Waste Authority (the "Authority") in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. The Department of Justice alleged that the Authority had discriminated against its employees on the basis of their race and/or sex. Specifically, the United States contended that Native American and female employees were subjected to harassment on the basis of their race and/or sex that adversely affected the terms, conditions, and privileges of their employment. The United States sought injunctive and monetary relief.

The United States alleged that the defendant discriminated against employees on the basis of their race and/or sex by creating and maintaining a work environment that was so racially and/or sexually hostile that they were forced to resign from their positions. A female, Native American employee timely filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that the then Executive Director of the Authority harassed her because of her sex and race, that because of the harassment she was forced to resign her position with the Authority, and that the discrimination was in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC investigated the employee's charge and found reason to believe that violations of Title VII had occurred. The EEOC attempted unsuccessfully to conciliate the charge of discrimination through voluntary resolution and subsequently referred the matter to the Department of Justice.

On February 4, 2003, the plaintiffs and the defendant agreed to enter into a consent decree approved by the district court (Magistrate Judge Richard L. Puglisi). The consent decree enjoined the Authority from discriminating against any employee because of that employee's sex or race or retaliating against any employees that filed a charge with the EEOC or the New Mexico Human Rights Commission or that participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under Title VII. Additionally, the Authority consented to offer monetary relief to certain female employees and to implement the anti-discrimination policy and investigation procedures.

The Authority also agreed that in the event it is contacted by any employer for an employment reference regarding its former Executive Director, the Authority shall state only the facts and dates of his employment, a description of the employee's job's duties, and the fact that at the time of his departure there was a pending DOJ investigation into allegations that he racially and sexually harassed employees but that the matter was settled with no admission of liability. It can be inferred from this part of the consent decree that the Executive Director either resigned or was fired by the Authority due to his alleged discriminatory behavior.

We have no further information on this case.

Dana Schwarz - 10/17/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Defendant-type
Sanitation/Public Works
Discrimination-area
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Race
American Indian/Alaskan Native
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
Defendant(s) Northwest New Mexico Regional Solid Waste Authority
Plaintiff Description U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of female and Native American employees
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2003 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2006
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)
02-316 (D.N.M.) 05/25/2006
EE-NM-0061-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 03/20/2002
EE-NM-0061-0001 PDF | Detail
Consent Decree 02/05/2003
EE-NM-0061-0002 PDF | Detail
Judges Puglisi, Richard L. (D. Haw., D.N.M.) [Magistrate]
EE-NM-0061-0002 | EE-NM-0061-9000
Schneider, W. Daniel (D.N.M.) [Magistrate]
EE-NM-0061-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Alexander, Tamara R (District of Columbia)
EE-NM-0061-0001 | EE-NM-0061-9000
Ashcroft, John (District of Columbia)
EE-NM-0061-0001
Boyd, Ralph F. Jr. (District of Columbia)
EE-NM-0061-0001 | EE-NM-0061-0002 | EE-NM-0061-9000
Fenton, William B. (District of Columbia)
EE-NM-0061-0001 | EE-NM-0061-9000
Gregory, Claire L. (District of Columbia)
EE-NM-0061-0001 | EE-NM-0061-0002 | EE-NM-0061-9000
Hamilton, Raymond (New Mexico)
EE-NM-0061-0001 | EE-NM-0061-9000
Henry, Dawn (District of Columbia)
EE-NM-0061-0001 | EE-NM-0061-0002 | EE-NM-0061-9000
Iglesias, David C. (New Mexico)
EE-NM-0061-0001 | EE-NM-0061-9000
Weisman, Cynthia L (New Mexico)
EE-NM-0061-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Stelzner, Luis G (New Mexico)
EE-NM-0061-0002 | EE-NM-0061-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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