EEOC Seal

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
10-3-11

EEOC Settles Sexual Harassment Suit Against Roberts Truck Center

Claims of Sexual Harassment of Women by Male Co-Worker Resolved in Farmington, New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Several companies doing business as Roberts Truck Centers, including Roberts Truck Center in Farmington, New Mexico have agreed to settle a class sex discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $300,000, the agency announced today.

The EEOC’s lawsuit, EEOC v. Roberts Truck Center of New Mexico, LLC, Roberts Truck Center of Texas, LLC, Roberts Truck Center, LTD, and Roberts Truck Center Holding Company, LLC (“Roberts”) 10-cv-00904 JCH/KBM, charged that Larry Leyva, then a co-worker of Katherine Abernathy, subjected Ms. Abernathy and a class of three other women to sexual harassment. The EEOC also alleged that Katherine Abernathy suffered retaliation for complaining about the sex harassment and was fired due to the retaliation and/or because of her sex, female.

Sex discrimination, including sex harassment and retaliation against persons who oppose unlawful employment practices violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.

“Employers must constantly remind their managers of their obligation to maintain workplaces where employees are not subjected to illegal harassment or retaliation. Also, when managers fail to satisfy these obligations, it is the employer’s responsibility to correct the violations and prevent other violations from occurring,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah. “Also, women like Ms. Abernathy, who have the courage to complain, must not suffer retaliation for their efforts to prevent further harassment of themselves or others.”

In addition to monetary relief for Ms. Abernathy and the three class members, the decree provides for other important relief, including an injunction prohibiting further sex discriminatory or retaliatory practices; institution of policies and procedures to address sexual harassment and retaliation; institution of training for employees, manager and human resource officials regarding sex discrimination and retaliation; and an oral apology from involved managers who failed to address the co-workers’ harassment of the women.

EEOC Deputy District Director Elizabeth Cadle said, “We are pleased that this employer is taking appropriate steps to assure that no further harassment occurs in its workplaces. Federal law protects a woman’s right to work without harassment because of her sex.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.