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Miami DEA officer wins bias suit, claims transfer was retaliation

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

A former Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) administrator recently won a four-year battle over alleged racial discrimination and retaliation charges against the agency and U.S. Justice Department. He won $85,000 in damages, plus legal fees.

Sandalio Gonzalez claimed that a transfer to Texas was retaliation for bringing DEA wrongdoing to light. Formerly second-in-command in the DEA’s South Florida office overseeing 300 agents, Gonzalez was transferred to El Paso, Texas, where he was top administrator in charge of 150 agents. The DEA called it a promotion, but Gonzalez said it was retaliation.

Earlier that year, Gonzalez made headlines when he accused Miami agents of covering up the disappearance of 10 kilos of cocaine from a drug search.

Advice: A landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling last summer lowered the bar on what’s considered illegal “retaliation” against employees. Remind supervisors to avoid trying get revenge against complainers and whistle-blowers.  

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