ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Seven women in Bernalillo County’s budget department have filed a federal lawsuit against the county alleging gender discrimination and demeaning behavior from male supervisors.
The lawsuit filed in September claims Bernalillo County violated state and federal civil-rights laws through “systemic county-wide discriminatory treatment” of its female employees. The lawsuit also said the women suffered “numerous gender-stereotyping or disparaging comments on account of gender.”
It accuses recently retired Deputy County Manager Dan Mayfield of implying that the county could control costs by hiring women because they’re cheaper and former supervisor Julian Barela of saying he wouldn’t hire any more women because “they are too difficult and too emotional.”
Barela and Mayfield deny the comments, Agnes Fuentevilla Padilla, an attorney representing the defendants, told the Albuquerque Journal, which first reported the lawsuit (http://bit.ly/sSKuuG ).
“Both Dan Mayfield and Julian Barela adamantly dispute the disparaging remarks about women attributed to them in the lawsuit and look forward to defending the claims brought against them,” she told the Journal.
Barela, in a brief Journal interview, said the alleged comments are “completely false. In fact, I hired the majority of the women who are claiming the allegation.”
He said he didn’t discriminate against female employees. “I’m a professional, and I would never do that,” Barela said.
Bernalillo County also was named as a defendant.
The plaintiffs are asking for back pay, damages and an injunction prohibiting the county from engaging in discrimination.
Among the plaintiffs is Maria Zuniga, a budget administrator who now works as the county’s interim budget director. The six other plaintiffs all work or used to work in the county as financial analysts.