New Mexico Capitol Guard Alleges Hostile Work Environment

January 31, 2008

A female security officer at the state Capitol alleges her co-workers spied on her, harassed her and falsely accused her of disobeying orders.

Roberta Everett of Tesuque, in a lawsuit filed in state district court Jan. 18, alleges she was discriminated against because she is an American Indian woman. She said she fears her bosses have “already cultivated a chain of adverse action against her such that the next step in their design might in fact include her wrongful termination.”

Her lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from the Legislative Council, a panel of state senators and representatives that runs the Capitol. A spokesman for the Legislative Council Service, the staff of the council, declined comment.

Everett, who joined the security force in 1992, accused four male security officers of creating a hostile work environment beginning in 2003.

Her lawsuit alleges one expressed a desire to get her fired and falsely accused her of misusing the telephone, even though he often called his girlfriend during work hours.

She said another accused of “timecard fraud” and that she continued to be paired with him on shifts after she complained he was harassing her and that she felt threatened.

She also contends her co-workers used a video surveillance system installed in 2004 it to spy on her.

She alleges one used “inappropriate and foul language” to create “a hostile and intimidating work environment.” She also contends he let maintenance staff punch the time clock for each other against policy and let them take breaks longer than 15 minutes, although she was not allowed to take such breaks.

The lawsuit said Everett was suspended without pay for three days for allegedly leaving her post. She said no evidence was presented to back up that allegation and that security cameras would have proved where she was.

Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican,

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