United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND
DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS
MATTER comes before the Court upon the Defendants' Motion
for Partial Dismissal of Plaintiff's Complaint, filed
August 3, 2018 (Doc. 20). Having reviewed
the parties' pleadings and the relevant law, the Court
finds that Defendants' motion is well-taken in part and,
therefore, is GRANTED IN PART.
officers with the Farmington Police Department, allege that
Defendants discriminated against them on the basis of their
religion. Plaintiffs Reyes and Pat Flores are brothers. They
both have self-described “long held deep-rooted
Christian beliefs.” The Farmington Police Department
(“FPD”) and employees were aware of their
Christian faith, and many people in FPD also held similar
beliefs. All individual Defendants appear to be employees of
the Farmington Police Department or City of Farmington.
Plaintiff Reyes Flores.
September 6, 2016, Defendant Veith notified Plaintiff Reyes
that an Internal Affairs investigation had been initiated
against him. The notice did not provide any details on the
allegations or alleged violations. On September 21, 2016, Lt.
Crum notified Reyes that he was being transferred from the
training division to the patrol division and prohibited him
from leading any informal or formal training in the
of the internal investigation, Defendant Veith interviewed
Reyes at least four times, during which he referenced
Reyes' religious beliefs, the expression of those beliefs
in the work place, and the inappropriateness of sharing those
religious beliefs in the workplace. Plaintiff Reyes led
certain trainings as a Field Officer Trainer. Plaintiff Reyes
believed he was being accused of forcing religious beliefs on
his trainees or subordinates while in the workplace.
internal affairs investigation disclosed that Reyes did not
force, coerce, compel, or require any department employee to
follow his religious beliefs. However, the investigation
found that Reyes engaged in discriminatory conversations with
trainees and subordinates. The proposed discipline included
(1) removal from his training position and revocation of his
Field Officer Trainer status; (2) removal from the SWAT team;
(3) a written reprimand (4) and other discipline.
Reyes filed a grievance. The discipline was subsequently
reduced to counseling. Plaintiff Reyes continued to pursue
his grievance but was not successful. He alleges he has been
denied subsequent opportunities based on this discipline and
subsequently received the worst performance evaluation of his
Plaintiff Pat Flores.
Pat Flores has been applying for lieutenant positions since
2014. He alleges that other less qualified candidates,
including ones he trained, were selected over him four times.
27, 2017, Plaintiff Pat had a feedback session with Defendant
Tracy. Defendant Tracy told him that although his
qualifications were better than those selected based on
training and experience, he was not promoted because of his
perceived strong religious beliefs and he would not be
promoted unless he surrendered those beliefs.
assert the following fourteen claims:
Count I: 42 U.S.C. § 1983: First Amendment Retaliation.
Count II: 42 U.S.C. § 1983: Fourteen Amendment Equal
Protection / Hostile Work Environment.
Count III: 42 U.S.C. § 1983: Fourteen Amendment /
Procedural Due process.
Count IV: 42 U.S.C. § 1983: Fourteenth Amendment /
Substantive Due Process.
Count V: 42 U.S.C. § 1983: Fourteenth Amendment Equal
Protection / Religious Discrimination.
Count VI: Title VII: Religious Discrimination.
Count VII: Title VII: Retaliation.
Count VIII: Title VII: Hostile Work Environment.
Count IX: New Mexico Human Rights Act: Religious