Department of Justice SealDepartment of Justice
Friday, January 9, 2009
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

Justice Department Sues New Mexico Community College for Sexual Harassment of Former Employee

WASHINGTON - The Department of Justice today filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in New Mexico against Luna Community College, alleging discrimination against former employee Charlene Ortiz-Cordova in the form of sexual harassment by a supervisor that resulted in a hostile work environment.

"Title VII protects women from discrimination in employment," said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  "The Department of Justice will vigorously pursue cases when employers fail or refuse to take appropriate action to stop sexual harassment in the workplace." 

The Department’s complaint alleges that the supervisor, Luna’s former president, subjected Ms. Ortiz-Cordova to sexual harassment over the course of several months by making unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature, unwanted sexual gestures, and repeated sexually explicit comments to her, among other allegations. The complaint further alleges that Luna failed or refused to take appropriate action to prevent and correct the sexual harassment.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion, and prohibits retaliation against an employee who opposes an unlawful employment practice, or because the employee has made a charge or participated in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under the Act.

The Department of Justice is committed to the vigorous enforcement of Title VII. The Department’s lawsuit against Luna is the first Title VII suit it has filed in 2009. Last year, the Department filed a total of twelve Title VII suits. More information about Title VII and other federal employment laws is available on the Department of Justice Web site at