Three female former prosecutors at the Doña Ana County District Attorney’s office allege there is a culture of discrimination and retaliation against the recent unionization in the office.
“I was in shock,” said Rebecca Duffin, a seven-year veteran of the office who said she was placed on paid administrative and later terminated. “I had never done anything to be treated this way.”
The attorneys’ union, Communications Workers of America, filed a prohibitive practice complaint with the New Mexico Public Employee Labor Relations Board against the Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
In a hearing on Tuesday, the union represented three former female prosecutors who were terminated or resigned from their positions: Rebecca Duffin, Cassandra Brulotte and Kelly Herson.
“There was fear among this group for retaliation,” said Robin Gould, who represents Communications Workers of America.
Duffin described a culture of hostility in the office after attorneys decided to unionize. She said Deputy District Attorney Gerald Byers was “physically confrontational with female employees” and said he would retaliate against them for raising concerns.
The former prosecutor said of the 11 attorneys who wanted to unionize, seven either resigned or were terminated, calling it a “bloodbath.”
The three female attorneys were ultimately placed on paid administrative leave for signage on their doors with phrases like “No Mansplaining” and “The Future is Female,” the attorneys said.
“There was a national conversation going on about issues that involved us,” Duffin said. “Certainly we wanted the sexual discrimination going on in our office addressed.”
Duffin said there were far worse signs on other doors in the public office, some that were graphic or depicted violence.
The District Attorney’s Office had “a very liberal policy,” on door markings, she said.
Herson resigned after she was placed on leave, according to the attorney. Duffin and Brulotte were terminated.
The District Attorney’s office declined to comment on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, District Attorney Mark D’Antonio and Byers are expected to speak. Expect ABC-7’s complete coverage on-air and online at KVIA.com.