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EEOC Sues Albuquerque Dealership for Sexual Harassment

The suit alleges that managers retaliated against men who reported incidents to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

October 7, 2011
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Related Topics: Harassment, The HR Profession, Employee Relations, Discrimination and EEOC Compliance, Safety and Workplace Violence, Latest News
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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued Pitre Inc., an Albuquerque, N.M., Buick-GMC dealership, alleging it subjected a group of men to sexual harassment for more than 10 years.

In the suit, the EEOC says dealership managers "created a hostile work environment" by letting lot attendant James Gallegos sexually harass male co-workers even after the men complained. The suit also alleges that managers retaliated against men who reported incidents to the EEOC.

The EEOC lists many incidents of harassment. For example, Gallegos allegedly "wrestled down employees to touch their private parts," exposed his genitals and bit co-workers' genitals.

"It is particularly alarming when harassment of this nature continues for such an extended period of time with the owner and managements' knowledge," EEOC lawyer Mary Jo O'Neill said in a statement.

The dealership management could not be reached for comment despite repeated phone calls.

The suit says managers told employees who complained that they weren't "team players," that they should "shut up," and that the dealer's lawyers would "eat you for lunch."

Filed by Donna Harris of Automotive News, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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