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Wednesday, May 21, 2008
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Justice Department Files Lawsuit Alleging Doña Ana County, New Mexico, Discriminated against Female Employees on the Basis of their Sex

WASHINGTON The Department of Justice announced today the filing of a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico against Doña Ana County, alleging the county discriminated against five female employees by subjecting them to sexual harassment by a supervisor that resulted in a hostile work environment, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The complaint alleges that the supervisor subjected these women to sexual harassment over the course of approximately 10 months by, among other actions, referring to them and other women using gender-based derogatory and offensive terms, asking them about or commenting on their sexual lives and the lives of other women, and criticizing behaviors of women that he did not criticize in men. The complaint further alleges that the county failed or refused to take appropriate action to prevent and correct the sexual harassment, including but not limited to failing or refusing to respond to repeated complaints about the harassment.

"Every woman should be able to go to work and be treated with dignity," said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Public employers should take prompt and effective action to stop sexual harassment in the workplace and the Department of Justice will vigorously pursue cases in which the employer fails or refuses to do so."

The continued enforcement of Title VII has been a priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available on its Web site at