4 Investigates: Former medical marijuana dispensary employee sues employer for workplace retaliation | KOB 4

4 Investigates: Former medical marijuana dispensary employee sues employer for workplace retaliation

Chris Ramirez
Updated: December 18, 2020 01:25 PM
Created: December 16, 2020 10:16 PM

ROSWELL, N.M. — At a time when small business are laying off their workforce, a former employee of a Roswell medical marijuana dispensary is suing the company, accusing it of falsely using the COVID-19 pandemic to get rid of her.

In a lawsuit filed in New Mexico’s 5th Judicial Court, Aundrea Carrasco claimed her former employer Pecos Valley Production retaliated against her by laying her off after she reported illegal activity and a sexually offensive hostile work environment to upper management. Pecos Valley Production is medical marijuana dispensary operating in southeast New Mexico. 

Carrasco claimed her workplace was hyper-sexualized with employees constantly watching pornography on their cell phones.  She claimed one female employee owned a page on onlyfans.com, a site where people can pay for nude videos. Carrasco alleged that employee marketed her web page and sold nude photos of herself to cannabis patients inside the store.

Carrasco also claimed other employees defrauded patients by taking their loyalty reward points and even switched product labels.

“When I started questioning them, they basically told me that it was something that they all did,” Carrasco told KOB 4. “And it was going on throughout the company.  I just said I didn't want any part of it.”  

Carrasco alleged she took these concerns to the company’s management team, but a few days later she received a letter informing her that due to COVID-19 related reasons, the company was forced to lay her off. 

Tim White, Carrasco’s attorney, stated once Pecos Valley Production laid her off, they immediately hired someone new to replace her. 

“When an employer tells you, I have to lay you off because of COVID, and we need to reduce the number of employees, and then they immediately hire someone to replace the person being laid off— it's the biggest red flag there is,” White said.  “It's clear that the allegation that she was being laid off because of COVID issues is just a lie.”

Luis Robles represents Pecos Valley Production.  Robles admitted to KOB 4 that his client did not, in fact, let Carrasco go for a COVID-related reason. Instead, Robles simply said, Carrasco “just wasn’t working out.”  When asked if Carrasco had violated any policies or broken any rules as grounds for termination, Robles said “it’s irrelevant because Carrasco was an at-will employee and can fired without cause. Robles disputed Carrasco’s allegations about rampant workplace pornography and defrauding patients.  Robles said internal controls prevent that kind of activity from happening.

Carrasco said losing this job has caused serious financial hardships.  She cares for two disabled children and a husband who is currently on disability.  

 


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