Staffing Agency Allowed Abuse of Several Women Placed in Police Unit, Federal Agency Charges
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Real Time Staffing Services, Inc., doing business as Select Staffing in Albuquerque, violated federal law by allowing a group of female employees to be subjected to sexual harassment while they were working at the Inspection of Public Records Act Unit of the Albuquerque Police Department, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
In its suit, the EEOC alleged that Select Staffing allowed women, including Christella Sanchez, Barbara Houston, Roberta D. Archuleta, and Tiffany Dix, to be subjected to sexual harassment when they were placed at the Inspection of Public Records Act Unit of the Albuquerque Police Department. The EEOC also charges that, despite complaints, Select Staffing did nothing about the sexual harassment of its employees. The EEOC said that the women were subjected to pervasive unwelcome sexual comments, including comments about their breasts and buttocks, referred to them as "prostitutes" and "sluts," and subjected them to unwelcome touching, which created a hostile work environment for them.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico (EEOC v. Real Time Staffing Services, Inc., d/b/a Select Staffing, Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-00541-LF-KBM) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.
The lawsuit asks the court to order these companies to provide all the affected women with appropriate relief, including back wages, compensatory and punitive damages, and a permanent injunction enjoining the company from engaging in any further gender-discriminatory practices. The EEOC also asks the court to order the company to institute and carry out policies and practices that eradicate and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
"We continue to see a significant number of sexual harassment cases affecting many employees in our district," 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. "We are particularly concerned when sexual harassment happens at a workplace where a staffing agency places employees. The fact that this misconduct occurred in a police unit makes this case even more distressing. These agencies have a legal duty to protect their employees from sexual harassment. When they fail to do so, the EEOC will prosecute such cases vigorously."
EEOC District Director Elizabeth Cadle said, "Employers have an important responsibility to maintain a workplace that is free of sexual harassment. In the era of the #MeToo movement, we also recognize the bravery of women who come forward and share the abuse they have experienced so that workplaces can be safer for all employees."
On Monday, the EEOC reconvened its Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace for a meeting at agency headquarters in Washington, D.C. Established in 2015, the task force concluded its work in June 2016 with the final report of its co-chairs, EEOC Commissioner Chai R. Feldblum and Commissioner and now-Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic. The report includes recommendations and resources regarding leadership, accountability, policies and procedures, training, and developing a sense of collective responsibility. Monday's meeting delved into workplace harassment in light of the #MeToo movement, and discussed how employers can and have worked to better prevent and stop harassment.
Preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation is also one of the six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.