Opening arguments began in December in the federal civil trial of two U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents based in Philadelphia who are suing the U.S. Justice Department for reverse discrimination.
George Marthers III and Jude McKenna, who are white, allege black former supervisors harassed them so severely that both men had to take medical leave in 2002. When the agents filed race discrimination complaints with the EEOC, they claim the supervisors, Dempsey Jones and Johnny Fisher, retaliated by forging “phony counseling memoranda” to mislead investigators.
Defense lawyer Colin Cherico said that after joining the Philadelphia office in 2001, Fisher and Jones instituted new dress codes and attendance policies, requiring agents to account for their whereabouts at all times.
Cherico said Marthers and McKenna were problem agents who were accustomed to the good life and didn’t like the new rules.
The agents are seeking $20 million in compensatory and punitive damages.