Puerto Rico DEA Agents File Discrimination Lawsuit

12 agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice, AG Eric Holder and others for discrimination.

[Their lawyer says] agents hired in the U.S. who come to Puerto Rico receive a bonus for working in a so-called high-intensity drug trafficking area, which Puerto Rican agents already on the island don't get. She says they also get more dangerous assignments because they have local experience that the U.S. agents lack.

Reading through the Complaint, available on PACER: the lawsuit claims National Origin Discrimination in federal employment practices; Disparate Treatment; and Equal Protection violations. It alleges the Justice Department has violated the Federal Workforce Flexibility Act of 2004. The agents, who are from Puerto Rico, claim they are not receiving the same benefits as "non-local hires" and receive 25% less pay.

The agents also claim they are being used as "cannon fodder" for the DEA, forced out of administrative positions and back onto the dangerous streets. [More...]

There are 68 Special Agents in the DEA, Caribbean Division. 18 are "local hires" (including the 12 suing agents) and 50 are non-local hires. All of the non-local hires receive financial incentives.

“[L]ocal hires” are not only receiving less compensation, but their working conditions are more dangerous since due to their unique abilities plaintiffs are now the designated “cannon fodder” of the DEA Puerto Rico office.

In other words, the DEA has pushed them out of support positions and back onto the streets, so that it can entice agents from outside Puerto Rico to come in and take the cushier administrative positions.

In addition to wage increases and back pay, each agent is seeking $100,000 for "emotional damages, suffering, inconveniences, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life and of physical and mental health and pecuniary losses..."

Here's an interesting factoid from the Complaint:

As of May 2011 over 50 percent of authorized positions in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), 22 percent of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) positions and 17 percent of DEA positions in Puerto Rico remained vacant.

< U.S. Embassy Closed in Syria, All Employees Leave | Monday Open Thread >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    One wonders (none / 0) (#1)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 04:52:05 PM EST

    if incentive pay for "away from home" folk is unique to Puerto Rico, or is this common to other areas outside the US proper.  Guam and Samoa may need similar incentives to draw workers.  


    ooh (none / 0) (#2)
    by womanwarrior on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 10:54:24 PM EST
    Do you know the name of their lawyer?

    SITE VIOLATOR (none / 0) (#5)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Aug 18, 2015 at 08:15:21 AM EST
    hitting many threads