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Secret Service Settles Two Decade Old Race Discrimination Case

More than 100 black agents filed suit against the Secret Service while President Clinton was in office. They claimed that they were denied promotions from 1995 to 2005. They alleged that white agents with less experience and lower performance ratings were given the promotions. The primary plaintiff, Mr. Ray Moore, asserted that he had bid 200 times for promotion during his years working for the Secret Service but was denied.

The evidence produced in the litigation reflected a workplace full of racist jokes and slurs. White supervisors were accused of engaging in racist banter and black agents stated that they were advised not to complain in order to protect their careers. During the course of the litigation, the Secret Service was chastised by the courts for failing to provide relevant documents.

According to the Washington Post, a settlement of $24 million was reached and the Secret Service did not admit to any wrongdoing. However, the agency has agreed to alter its promotion process so that multiple candidates are considered for promotions and better documentation will be kept of the factors used to select candidates for promotion. A hotline will be created to allow agents to report bias and to track racial-bias complaints against individuals being considered for promotion. The original eight agents will receive $300,000 each and the others will receive lesser sums. The director of Homeland Security (which oversees the Secret Service) stated that the settlement was “simply the right thing to do” and that “[i]t is time to move forward rather than look back to remnants of the past.”