On August 29, 2002, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico against Bell Gas, Inc. and related corporations on behalf of a female employee. The EEOC alleged that the companies had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights ...
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On August 29, 2002, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico against Bell Gas, Inc. and related corporations on behalf of a female employee. The EEOC alleged that the companies had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000e et. seq.) by subjecting the employee to a sexually hostile work environment created by verbal and physical harassment from her immediate supervisor, including sexual assault. The EEOC further alleged that Bell Gas had unlawfully retaliated against the employee by constructively discharging her (she was supposedly offered a transfer but was given no further information). The EEOC sought its costs, and monetary and injunctive relief for the employee, including reform of policies and practices, back pay, reinstatement, front pay, job search expenses, compensation for emotional harm, and punitive damages.
The Court (Judge William P. Johnson) approved the employee's motion to intervene in the case on December 23, 2002. Adding her former supervisor as a defendant, she brought claims for violation of Title VII, sexual assault and battery, and several other violations of New Mexico law. She sought substantially the same relief as the EEOC.
The Court clerk made an entry of default against Bell Gas for its failure to respond to the EEOC's complaint, but the default was set aside upon the Court's subsequent finding that the untimely response was an honest mistake. The employee's supervisor represented himself.
After a fair amount of discovery disagreement the parties reached a settlement, which the Court entered as a consent decree on April 6, 2004. Under the agreement the employee received a total of $180,000; $60,000 up front and monthly payments of $2,000 for 60 months, secured by a mortgage lien on Defendants' property. The decree required Defendants to implement policies to keep the workplace free of sex discrimination and foster complaint lodging without retaliation, to distribute the sexual harassment policies to all employees, to provide annual training on avoiding sex-discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, to conduct complaint-investigation training, and to report to the EEOC. The docket shows no further court activity, and the case is now closed.Kenneth Gray - 07/25/2013