Sexual Harassment, Retaliation Claims Survive Dismissal; Complaint Alleged Harassment by Non-Employee

In Morales v. Supreme Maintenance Inc. et al, No. 1:21-cv-01044-KWR-JHR, 2022 WL 2290605 (D.N.M. June 24, 2022), the court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s sexual harassment and retaliation claims.

As to plaintiff’s retaliation claim, the court explained:

Here, Plaintiff alleges that she engaged in protected activity by opposing sexual harassment by an employee at a job site she was assigned by Supreme Maintenance. Plaintiff alleges that she was propositioned by a man because of her gender or sex, thus she makes reference to a protected characteristic. Plaintiff further alleges that she reported the sexual harassment to her supervisor and Defendants Hunt and Sanchez, and that she was terminated shortly after asking for an investigation and informing the company that she would pursue an inquiry with the EEOC. See Doc. 1, at 11–12, 18; Long v. E. New Mexico Univ. Bd. of Regents, No. CV 13-380 RB/SMV, 2015 WL 13667230, at *5 (D.N.M. Jan. 26, 2015) (finding that plaintiff “successfully alleges that she opposed violations of Title VII…[because] she complained to her superiors, in seeming good faith, that Defendant Quick was subjecting her to sexual harassment.”). The Court must accept Plaintiff’s factual allegations as true, and Plaintiff has adequately pled a Title VII retaliation claim based on Plaintiff’s opposition to sexual harassment. Thus, the Court denies Defendants’ motion to dismiss Counts IX (Retaliation) or X (Wrongful Termination).

The court also held that plaintiff sufficiently alleged hostile work environment sexual harassment, where plaintiff “alleged that she informed her supervisor and [defendants] of the sexual harassment she faced by a non-employee” and “further alleged that Defendants failed to investigate or take action.”

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