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What is the Human Rights Act?

The Human Rights Act was enacted in 1969 to ensure that all New Mexicans are protected from discrimination in employment, housing, credit and public accommodation. The Human Rights Bureau is responsible for enforcing the Human Rights Act under the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.

What are the bases of discrimination?

You can file a complaint of discrimination through the Human Rights Act under race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, age, physical or mental handicap, serious medical condition or, if your employer has fifty or more employees, spousal affiliation or if the employer has fifteen or more employees, to discriminate against an employee based upon the employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Under the work sharing agreement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the division may also investigate complaints of discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion and sex under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; age under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967; and disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).

Is harassment covered under the Human Rights Act?

Harassment that creates a hostile work environment is considered a type of discrimination if it is based on one of the protected statuses. It would be covered under the statute and investigated like other discriminatory acts. Harassment that is not based on a protected status is not covered by the Act.

What if I want to file my charge with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission?

Under the work sharing agreement between the Human Rights Bureau and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a complaint filed with the Human Rights bureau will be dual-filed with the EEOC, provided it meets the EEOC’s jurisdiction requirements. Also a complaint filed with the EEOC that meets the Human Rights Bureau’s jurisdiction requirements will be dual-filed with HRD. It is not necessary to contract both offices.

What is the ADR Program?

The Human Rights Bureau has adopted the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program to attempt to resolve discrimination issues through mediation/conciliation. A resolution of a complaint through mediation is less costly because it can settle a case in a matter of weeks as opposed to a lengthy investigation. The ADR program is strictly voluntary and all parties must be willing to participate.

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