U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Federal Court Issues ‘Extraordinary Remedy’ in Class Male-on-Male Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Suit Filed Against Albuquerque Car Dealership
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Pitre Inc., a car dealership in Albuquerque, N.M., was barred on January 26, 2012 by the U.S. District Court from threatening or retaliating against current and former employees who participate in the employment discrimination lawsuit filed against it by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC filed a motion for a preliminary injunction due to the immediate danger of “substantial and irreparable injury” to charging parties, class members, witnesses, and potential class members due to intimidation.
Chief United States District Court Judge Bruce Black, who granted the EEOC’s motion, prohibited the Pitre dealership and all of its agents from threatening or engaging in retaliatory actions against all current and former employees who participate in the lawsuit filed by the EEOC against Pitre, Inc. Under the preliminary injunction, the dealership and all of its agents, except the dealership’s attorneys, are prohibited from contacting current non-management employees or former employees regarding the facts and/or defenses in the lawsuit without an EEOC attorney present. Judge Black also affirmatively directed the dealership to instruct its employees that it is unlawful to engage in retaliatory actions against any current or former employee based upon their participation in the lawsuit.
The EEOC filed the underlying lawsuit on behalf of a class of male employees, who were allegedly subjected to egregious sexual harassment and retaliation over a ten-year period. The EEOC contends that Pitre, Inc. engaged in unlawful behavior after the filing of the lawsuit by threatening witnesses, offering witnesses money in exchange for their agreement not to participate in the lawsuit, encouraging local dealerships to engage in retaliatory acts, such as refusing to hire former Pitre employees, and intimidating current employees by creating a work environment that was permeated with retaliation.
“We are very pleased by this court order. Our laws mandate that people should be free to assert their civil rights without retribution. We hope that our witnesses, class members, potential class members, and charging parties will now be safe from any retaliation for participating in this lawsuit,” said Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.