While the U.S. Secret Service’s recent forays into the media landscape have included excessive payments to Donald Trump’s campaign for travel expenses and the president-elect’s intent to maintain his private security force alongside them, the agency’s latest blip is far more positive. That’s because the organization charged with protecting the President of the United States has agreed to settle a decades-old lawsuit alleging systematic racial discrimination among its members.
According to the Washington Post, the U.S.S.S. will pay $24 million to over 100 African-American agents past and present — including large payments of $300,000 each to the eight original plaintiffs in the case. In return, however, neither the agency nor any one person who stood accused of racial bias during the proceedings will be required to admit fault in the matter. Yet despite this legal caveat, it seems the plaintiffs are content with the outcome:
Jennifer Klar, the lead attorney for the black agents, described her clients as thrilled with a result they hope will prevent future discrimination in the agency.
“At long last… black Secret Service agents will not be constrained by the glass ceiling that held back so many for so long,” Klar said.
As are those representing the U.S.S.S.:
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, whose department includes the agency, said in a statement that the resolution was “simply the right thing to do.”
“I am pleased that we are able to finally put this chapter of Secret Service history behind us,” said Johnson, who directed his staff last year to take a fresh look at resolving the case. “Had the matter gone to trial, it would have required that we re-live things long past, just at a time when the Secret Service is on the mend.”
The main thrust of the allegations, which Secret Service Director Joseph P. Clancy claimed his organization took “seriously,” concerns black agents who were constantly overlooked for promotions in favor of their white colleagues from 1995 to 2005. Among the claims filed with the lawsuit were instances of hundreds of bids for advancement being turned down so that younger, under-qualified, and often less adept white agents could progress upwards.
(Via Washington Post)