EEOC Seal

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
1-4-12

Bank of Albuquerque Discriminated on the Basis of Age and Sex, EEOC Alleges in Lawsuit

Older Women Fired or Disciplined, Federal Agency Charges

PHOENIX -- BOK Financial Corporation, doing business as the Bank of Albuquerque, unlawfully discharged managers Elizabeth Morantes and Yolanda Fernandez because they were women over 40 years of age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in a lawsuit filed today. The EEOC’s lawsuit also alleges that another employee, Betty Brewer, was disciplined because of her sex and age.

The lawsuit alleges that the two managers—who were long-time employees of the bank—were discharged and Brewer was disciplined for reasons not applied to younger male managers and employees. Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which bars discrimination on the basis of age above 40.

The EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. BOK Financial Corporation dba Bank of Albuquerque, (CV 11-01132-ALB-KBM-LFG), in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico in Albuquerque, after first attempting reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement. The agency is seeking monetary relief for the three victims as well an injunction prohibiting the bank from engaging in any further discriminatory practices.

EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill said, “Longtime employees should not be jettisoned because of their age and sex. Discrimination on the basis of age and sex violates federal law.”

Rayford O. Irvin, District Director of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, added, “Women over the age of 40 constitute a protected subclass of workers. We will continue to vigorously pursue our mission of fighting employment discrimination on all fronts, including discrimination based on both age and sex.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing the nation’s laws prohibiting employment discrimination. EEOC’s Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and part of New Mexico (including Albuquerque). Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.