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State Managers Accused of Sexual Harassment

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Two managers at the state Workforce Solutions Department are on administrative leave pending an inquiry into alleged sexual harassment of women at the agency’s unemployment insurance call center.

Scott Darnell, spokesman for Gov. Susana Martinez, said he couldn’t discuss the specifics because they are personnel matters and under investigation. He declined to identify the two men on leave.

“However, generally speaking, there are serious allegations of sexual harassment and other violations by classified supervisors,” Darnell told the Journal. “It appears to involve harassing activity that had been prevalent for the past few years.”

Women at the call center have complained about unwanted physical touching, crude remarks and being asked for dates by supervisors.

Asked how many female employees have alleged sexual harassment so far, Darnell said only, “It involves multiple individuals.”

“We are not aware of any situations in which the previous administration initiated action against the two people under investigation or the extent to which the previous leadership was informed of the allegations,” Darnell said.

The investigation was started after the governor’s constituent services office received an anonymous tip, Darnell said.

That prompted the agency’s cabinet secretary, Celina Bussey, to start an independent investigation.

More than a dozen female employees have reportedly been interviewed in recent weeks.

A private investigation firm in Albuquerque, Robert Caswell Investigations, has been hired to look into the allegations. A spokesman at the firm declined to comment this week.

The call center, based in Albuquerque, has 69 full-time employees, of which 42 are temporary hires. The two supervisors under investigation are permanent classified employees.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal