Tribal Employment Rights Office

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Contact Information

505-552-6604 x 5541


Mailing Address
PO Box 309, Acoma, NM 87034

Physical Address
43B Pinsbaari Drive, Acoma, NM 87034

Office Hours

Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

TERO Staff

Darrell Felipe, TERO Manager

Brittany Shutiva, TERO Compliance Officer


Tribal Employment Rights Office

The Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO) was established by the Acoma Tribal Council on August 8, 2016 via Resolution No. TC-AUG-08-16-VIc.  The TERO Law was enacted to create employment and training opportunities for Native Americans and to instruct private sector employers doing business with, on or near the Pueblo of Acoma boundaries to give employment and promotional preference to Native Americans.  TERO also works on behalf of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) and is authorized to handle charges of alleged violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act regarding discrimination.

In the past, employers/contractors who performed work with and on Acoma lands did not give hiring preference to Native Americans, bringin in non-Native American members to do the work, leaving qualified Native Americans without jobs.  By adopting the TERO Ordinance, the Pueblo of Acoma helps protect these jobs and othe rights of Native American employees against unlawful actions taken by employers/contractors that are doing business with, on or near the Pueblo.

What is the Legal Basis for TERO?

A Tribe’s authority to enact and enforce an Indian/Native employment preference law is grounded in its inherent sovereign status. This legal doctrine is the most basic principle of Indian law and is supported by a host of Supreme Court decisions. Inherent sovereign powers derive from the principle that certain powers do not necessarily come from delegated powers granted by express acts of Congress, but are inherent powers of a limited sovereign that have never been taken away. Tribes have a basic relationship with the federal government as sovereign powers. This is recognized in both treaties and federal statutes. The sovereignty of tribes has been limited from time to time by treaties and federal legislation; however, what have not been expressly limited remains within tribal sovereignty.


What Does the TERO Do?

TERO is responsible for enforcing the Acoma TERO Ordinance which has been authorized by the Acoma Tribal Government to:


That mandates the Tribal requirements for Native American preference that all covered Contractors/Employers must comply with in order to be eligible to perform work on or near tribal lands.



That empowers the TERO Staff with sufficient authority to fully enforce all provisions of Acoma TERO Ordinance.


That defines and describes the duties and responsibilities of the TERO staff.


That clearly spells out penalties Contractors/Employers may face for violations of  Tribal law.


That provides principles of legal fairness to all parties involved in compliance or violation dispute issue.

TERO Services

Job Assistance

If you wish to be considered for a TERO position you must first submit a “Referral Request,” link is located below, to the TERO to be placed on the trade/craft list you qualify for, referrals will be made from this list upon Contractors/Employers need.  To increase your chances of getting hired, you must qualify in the occupation you select

You can submit an Online Referral Form and complete the required TERO Orientation.  You will then be issued a Referral Card which allows you to visit active job sites for in-person interviews.

Or you can click on the link below to view, fill-out, print and submit the Paper Referral Form to the TERO located in the Acoma Community Development Building, behind the Post Office (enter from the west side).  You will be required to complete the TERO orientation, to be issued a Referral Card which will allow you to visit active job sites for in-person interviews.  Due to COVID-19 Protocols, face coverings will be required to enter the TERO.

Online Referral Form

Paper Referral Form

Other Services Provided by the TERO
  • Solving employment problems with employers.
  • Address problems regarding wage & hourly laws.
  • Assist with violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
  • Assist with violations of EEOC – discrimination based on sex, national origin, color, religion, and race.
  • Violation of age discrimination under the Employment Act of 1967.
  • Violations the Equal Pay Act.
  • Violations of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
  • Other unlawful employment practices such as sexual harrassment, constructive discharge, passed over promotions, etc.
Problems at Work

If you think your problem is within our jurisdiction, you should contact the TERO Office and if employed, do not quit your job! If terminated, contact us immediately. If TERO cannot assist or answer your question we may refer you to another agency such as: Legal Services, EEOC, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), U.S. Dept. of Labor/Wage & Hour Division.