Albuquerque, NM asked in Employment Law and Sexual Harassment for New Mexico

Q: My employer condones and actively participates in foul language when addressing me as a female employee.

He says " get out of you don't like it! Drops insulting and unprofessional words during training of new employees. Is very crude and upsetting to this female employee What do I do? I consider this a very hostile workplace. He is offensive and disrespectful during meetings, training, and within earshot of customers.

1 Lawyer Answer

Trent A. Howell

Answered
  • Santa Fe, NM
  • Licensed in New Mexico

A: Depending on the circumstances, a "hostile environment" can amount to discrimination under the New Mexico Human Rights Act (“NMHRA”), NMSA § 28-1-1 et seq., and/or Title VII. In Ocana v. American Furniture Co., 135 N.M. 539, 91 P.3d 58, 66 (2004), the New Mexico Supreme Court explained:

sexual harassment is actionable under a hostile work environment theory when the offensive conduct becomes so severe and pervasive that it alters the conditions of employment in such a manner that the workplace is transformed into a hostile and abusive environment for the employee. In determining whether there was an abusive or hostile work environment, courts must look at the totality of the circumstances, including "the frequency of the discriminatory conduct; its severity; whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, or a mere offensive utterance; and whether it unreasonably interferes with an employee's work performance." The work environment must be both objectively and subjectively offensive—one that a reasonable person would find hostile or abusive and one that the employee did perceive as being hostile or abusive.

Ocana, 91 P.3d at 66 (citations omitted).

This is not legal advice to you, but a general idea of the law. Whether and how it applies to you would depend on the details of your employment.

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