“Immigration Agency Accused of Unfairness to Men”

I’ve been feeling a little guilty that I’ve not yet mentioned this lawsuit, and must confess to prejudice: when men sue women bosses for “discrimination and retaliation,” I have doubts.

The article in the New York Times, written by Kirk Semple, didn’t quell my doubts. Maybe because men have historically been in positions of “boss” power — and have regularly abused that power. Maybe because, like any woman who has ever worked in offices dominated by men, I’ve been the object of boss abuse.

Or maybe because a bunch of Immigration and Customs Enforcement men accusing Janet Napolitano and other high level women at Homeland Security of “discrimination and retaliation,” just doesn’t seem plausible. It does, however, seem political, especially in our current scary frenzy during which legislation, severely punitive and suppressive of women and minorities and written by white men, has been passed throughout the country.

A discrimination and retaliation lawsuit has embroiled the upper reaches of the federal government’s immigration enforcement agency, contributing to a sense of turmoil in a bureaucracy that has been suffering major labor conflicts between senior officials and employees.

That paragraph, for example. Is Semple talking about “major labor conflicts” or major conflicts between (white) men who are supervised by women? And in an agency that is directed by a black president? Whose recent executive order paralleling the Dream Act has received a torrent of criticism from, um, right wing white “patriotic” males? The kind of males who operate ICE and are suing Janet Napolitano?

We’re talking about men who are running campaigns in which they clearly state they’re trying to “take the country back.” From whom? From me, for one. From Janet Napolitano, for another. And most loudly from Barack Obama.

The lawsuit, filed by a top federal immigration official in New York, alleges that he was shunted out of a high-level position in the agency in favor of a less-qualified woman because he was a man.

“Alleges,” yes. That’s what complaints do: they “allege.” As several lawyers have told me at different times, anybody can file a lawsuit against anybody at any time. Making the case, not alleging, is somewhat more difficult.

The official, James T. Hayes Jr., also accuses the agency’s chief of staff, Suzanne Barr, of “sexually offensive behavior” that contributed to a discriminatory work environment for male employees …

That sounds almost satirical, like something that could be on The Office.

In addition, [Hayes] accuses Ms. Barr of contributing to a sexualized office culture hostile to men.

Ms. Barr, the lawsuit alleges, “created a frat house-type atmosphere that is targeted to humiliate and intimidate male employees.”

Notice the carefully chosen phrase “frat house-type,” and notice the covert suggestion that the woman who allegedly “created” that atmosphere is gay.

Men make up a majority of the leadership at ICE.

Yeah. The majority. This is why I’m dubious.

Maybe I’m wrong. We’ll see.


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