The New Mexico Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race or color (NM Stat. Sec. 28-1-1 et seq.). The Act applies to employers with four or more employees. Under the state law, it is unlawful for an employer to:
• Refuse to hire, discharge, promote or demote, or otherwise discriminate with respect to an individual's compensation or terms and conditions of employment, apprenticeship, training, or retraining on the basis of race or color.
• Publish an advertisement for employment or use any form of application for employment or make any inquiry regarding prospective employment indicating a preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based on race or color.
• Aid, abet, incite, compel, or coerce any unlawful discriminatory practice.
• Threaten or retaliate against any individual who has filed a complaint, testified, or participated in any proceeding under the Human Rights Act.
Information is available on unlawful racial harassment and the EEOC's E-race initiative concerning racial discrimination.
It may be permissible to publish advertisements and hire an individual on the basis of race if a BFOQ is reasonably necessary for the normal operation of the business (e.g., hiring actors to portray individuals of a certain race). These situations are rare, however, and employers should be cautious in relying on such a rationale when making employment decisions that have a disproportionate impact on persons of a particular group.