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PRESS RELEASE
1-30-12

EEOC Wins Preliminary Injunction to Prevent Retaliation Against Pitre, Inc. Employees

Federal Court  Issues ‘Extraordinary Remedy’ in Class Male-on-Male Sexual Harassment and  Retaliation Suit Filed Against Albuquerque  Car Dealership

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Pitre Inc., a car dealership in  Albuquerque, N.M., was barred on January 26, 2012 by the  U.S. District Court from threatening or retaliating against current and former  employees who participate in the employment discrimination lawsuit filed against  it by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC filed a motion for a preliminary injunction  due to the immediate danger of “substantial and irreparable injury” to charging  parties, class members, witnesses, and potential class members due to  intimidation.

Chief  United States District Court Judge Bruce Black, who granted the EEOC’s motion, prohibited  the Pitre dealership and all of its agents from threatening or engaging in  retaliatory actions against all current and former employees who participate in  the lawsuit filed by the EEOC against Pitre, Inc. Under the preliminary injunction, the  dealership and all of its agents, except the dealership’s attorneys, are  prohibited from contacting current non-management employees or former employees  regarding the facts and/or defenses in the lawsuit without an EEOC attorney present.  Judge Black also affirmatively directed  the dealership to instruct its employees that it is unlawful to engage in  retaliatory actions against any current or former employee based upon their  participation in the lawsuit.

The  EEOC filed the underlying lawsuit on behalf of a class of male employees, who  were allegedly subjected to egregious sexual harassment and retaliation over a  ten-year period. The EEOC contends that  Pitre, Inc. engaged in unlawful behavior after the filing of the lawsuit by threatening  witnesses, offering witnesses money in exchange for their agreement not to  participate in the lawsuit, encouraging local dealerships to engage in  retaliatory acts, such as refusing to hire former Pitre employees, and  intimidating current employees by creating a work environment that was  permeated with retaliation.

“We  are very pleased by this court order. Our  laws mandate that people should be free to assert their civil rights without  retribution. We hope that our witnesses, class members, potential class members,  and charging parties will now be safe from any retaliation for participating in  this lawsuit,” said Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Phoenix  District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, New  Mexico and Utah.

  The  EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is  available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.