A trio of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers – all of them Black – filed a federal lawsuit recently against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security alleging a hostile work environment in which they observed the mistreatment of Black drivers at the U.S. Canadian border in Michigan and also were ordered to partake in racial profiling.
The CBP officers allege that they were directed to discriminate against non-white travelers at the Blue Water Bridge between Port Huron and Sarnia, Ontario. In addition, they, too, described being racially discriminated against and when they reported it, the men were harassed, ignored or retaliated against. Racial discrimination at the workplace is illegal.
Retaliated against after filing complaint
The plaintiffs cite that they were ordered to discriminate against all Black travelers while working at the Port Huron location where only four of the 275 CBP officers are Black. In addition, the majority of managers and supervisors there are White.
While on the job, plaintiffs regularly observed racial profiling and directed to participate in it as well. The officers were ordered to violate CBP policy on racial profiling and target and harass non-white travelers for additional and unnecessary inspections. White travelers, however, were not subjected to similar treatment.
And while working with colleagues, one of the plaintiffs reported that a fellow officer mocked him for his appearance in being a Black man, telling him he could “blend in” with Black protestors.
After filing their complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Office, the men allege their employer retaliated against them. One 13-year-veteran officer was re-assigned desk duty immediately after filing the complaint.
Workplace discrimination at many levels continues to occur. Whistleblowers have federal protection. And the color of one’s skin should not make them a target of discrimination.