Staff and Wire Reports
State police officer James Brown has filed two Equal Opportunity Commission complaints against his employer for what he describes as a hostile work environment.
The 42-year-old state police patrolman stationed in Clovis since August 2003 says he was unable to resolve the problem internally.
Brown’s latest complaint, filed with the New Mexico Human Rights Division in March, alleges department officials have subjected him to harassment and retaliation since he filed his first complaint in October.
“I’m just hoping that no other African-American officer has to go through this sort of harassment,” Brown said.
Local state police officers referred all inquiries to the Department of Public Safety. Brown could not be contacted on Monday.
Department of Public Safety spokesman Peter Olson would not comment on the EEOC case.
Brown said officers have failed to provide him with backup on dangerous calls and that the department has failed to grant him transfers or benefits that he’s eligible for due to his graduate level education.
Olson said the department’s transfer policy normally required officers to complete a two-year probationary period unless exigent circumstances exist.
“And officers aren’t given merit pay until they prove with transcripts and diplomas they do possess a higher education degree,” said Olson, who would neither confirm or deny that Brown has submitted such documents.
Brown said he has tried to submit the documents on several occasions.
He also said less experienced officers were granted transfers long after he made requests.
Brown said he was once written up for being one minute late and once for assisting a motorist as he was traveling on special assignment.
Albert Sanchez, program analyst in the Albuquerque office of EEOC, said it could take several months to complete a case once it is filed. He said no details of specific cases can be released while the case is ongoing.
However, he did say if the EEOC finds that the allegations have merit, their organization will send a “letter of determination” to the agency and attempt to reach conciliation in the matter. A remedy could be anything from granting back pay, reinstatement of status or granting promotion, depending on the kind of discrimination, he said.
“Ultimately we will make a decision if there is evidence to show discrimination or not,” said Sanchez.
Freedom Newspapers Staff Writer David Irvin contributed to this report.