Hispanic Customs Agents Discuss Discrimination

Hispanic Special Agents recently filed a class action discrimination suit against the U.S. Customs Service. The class complaint was filed May 10, 2002 and alleges that the Customs Service has discriminated against Hispanic Special Agents since the 1970s in promotions, transfers and assignments, awards and bonuses, training, and discipline.

The complaint further alleges that the Customs Service maintained a hostile work environment, retaliated against agents for asserting their EEO rights and discriminated against them by denying foreign language pay awards. This case is the third major discrimination class action against Treasury law enforcement agencies.

The African American agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have pending proceedings to hold Secretary of Treasury Paul O’Neill in contempt for failure to comply with a 1996 Consent Decree and the African American Secret Service agents have a two year suit pending alleging systemic racial discrimination in that agency.

Counsel for plaintiffs in all three cases sought to have all three cases consolidated, alleging a pattern and practice at the highest levels of the Treasury Department dating back three decades.

Printed in Volume 1 Issue 9