Former employee accuses union leader of sexual harassment
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A former union employee has accused a prominent figure in New Mexico’s film industry of sexually harassing her, touching her inappropriately and attempting to block her from finding other work after the union fired her.
Christa Valdez, in a lawsuit filed Tuesday, accuses Jon Hendry, the president of the New Mexico Federation of Labor and a business agent for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 480, of harassing and intimidating her and then orchestrating her termination when she complained about his behavior.
Hendry said he couldn’t comment on the pending litigation and referred comments to the union’s lawyer, Robert Giolito, who also declined to comment.
Valdez’s attorney, Trent Howell, did not return a call seeking comment.
Hendry “continually harassed and intimidated” Valdez with sexual propositions while she worked at the union, the lawsuit states.
The union gave Valdez a notice of termination in August 2017, she says in the suit.
Valdez also names the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, where she worked as a public relations representative, as a party in the lawsuit.
Valdez and Howell are asking for a jury trial and are seeking financial reparations, including back pay, lawyers’ fees and compensation for emotional distress.