NBPC Puerto Rico Class Action Lawsuit
NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL
PUERTO RICO (RAMEY SECTOR) DETAIL CLASS ACTION
In late 2017, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“Agency”) announced, orally and/or in writing to currently employed United States Border Patrol Agents that it was seeking agents for details and/or assignments to travel to Ramey Sector in Puerto Rico and assist with Hurricane Maria relief efforts. The Agency explicitly excluded any agent with “family ties” to Puerto Rico, thus discouraging agents from applying and/or denying them an opportunity to participate based on their own Hispanic/Puerto Rican race and/or national origin and/or their association with others of Hispanic/Puerto Rican race and/or national origin. The National Border Patrol Council, through the Law Office of Sherry J. Downer PLLC, initiated informal EEO counseling and filed individual and class action complaints on behalf of a number of identified agents including the class representative, Durango Ayala-Quinones (“Class Agent”).
Aug 13 2020
EEOC Administrative Judge Sharon E. Debbage Alexander issued an order certifying the matter as a class action (“Class Certification Order”).
Sept 22 2020
The Agency issued its Final Agency Decision refusing to implement the Class Certification Order.
Sept 23 2020
The Agency appealed class certification.
April 29 2021
The EEOC Office of Federal Operations denied the Agency’s appeal, upholding certification of the class and required the Agency to notify potential class members of the accepted class claim.
May 14 2021
The Agency notified potential class members. Class Action Notice here
February 15 2022
AJ Alexander granted the Class Agent’s Motion to Amend the class definition, expanding it beyond the five Sectors listed in the April 29, 2021 OFO Decision.
Latest Update: February 15, 2022
AJ Alexander granted the Class Agent’s Motion to Amend the class definition, expanding it beyond the five Sectors listed in the April 29, 2021 OFO Decision. The class is now defined as “those who were excluded and/or discouraged from applying and/or denied the opportunity to participate in a temporary duty assignment to Ramey Sector to conduct Border Patrol law enforcement operations, and to assist with ongoing humanitarian efforts due to Hurricane Maria based on race/national origin (Hispanic/Puerto Rican) and/or association with others of Hispanic/Puerto Rican descent.” AJ Alexander directed the Agency to issue a revised notice to potential class members within 30 days of the Order. Discovery will begin on April 13, 2022.
The Agency sent this notice to individuals who were working within the following five sectors (El Centro, Big Bend, Yuma, El Paso and Tucson) at the time the detail solicitation was sent in or around October 2017 (“Class Action Notice”). If you received or heard about the Class Action Notice or think you may be a class member, please complete the Puerto Rico Class Action Screening Questionnaire. We will then let you know whether or not you meet the criteria to be a member of the class and, if so, what steps you need to take for inclusion in the class action.