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Suit Claims US Immigration Official Created ‘Frat House-Type Atmosphere’

Posted Aug 22, 2012 8:41 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The chief of staff at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has taken a voluntary paid leave pending a review of allegations in a lawsuit claiming she created a discriminatory work environment for male employees.

The suit filed in May by James Hayes Jr. accuses chief of staff Suzanne Barr of “sexually offensive behavior,” the New York Times reports. The complaint alleges Barr “created a frat house-type atmosphere that is targeted to humiliate and intimidate male employees.”

Hayes, the special agent in charge of investigations for the agency’s New York office, claims he was replaced in a senior management position by a less-qualified woman and transferred to New York “at a substantial financial loss.” He says he was retaliated against when he threatened to file a discrimination complaint, the Times says.

CNN has additional details. In one alleged incident, Barr is accused of moving office contents of three male employees into a men’s bathroom. In another, Barr is accused of calling a male employee at a hotel and screaming at him in crude language to say she wanted to have sex with him, the story says. Fox News cites affidavits supporting the suit, including one alleging she told an employee he was sexy and made a lewd remark.

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