Longtime agent James Hayes says Napolitano, who is long rumored to be lesbian
, shoved him aside in favor of a woman with whom she was in “a long-standing relationship,” according to a Fox New
Filed in May, the lawsuit spotlights two Napolitano appointees, Suzanne Barr and Dora Schriro. The women were appointed by Napolitano in 2009 about five months after Hayes was promoted to director of ICE Detention and Removal Operations.
According to Hayes, Schriro, who Napolitano hired as a “special adviser” to her, was unqualified and lacks law enforcement experience. Hayes said Schriro and Napolitano had a relationship, which was not detailed as of yet.
According to the suit, Hayes was pushed aside "because of this relationship (with Napolitano) and because he was not female."
The lawsuit maintains that Barr cultivated a "frat-house type atmosphere" at DHS that "'is targeted to humiliate and intimidate male employees,'" a charge confirmed in a U.S. Daily News
In one example, the suit alleges, Barr "'moved the entire contents of the offices of three male employees'" to the men's bathroom. Barr is also accused of repeatedly using "sexually offensive behavior" -- like "’screaming’ about an explicit sexual act at a male employee in his hotel room and "’covertly’" taking a male agent's Blackberry and sending a message to his female supervisor that he "’had a crush’" on her and "’fantasized about her.’"
The lawsuit also alleges that Barr held conference calls to discuss excuses for firing Hayes, after Schriro assumed some of his responsibilities before he was removed from his Washington ICE job and assigned to the New York office.
After Hayes filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Office, the suit alleges the department then retaliated against him, which is at the center of the lawsuit.
After the suit was reported on a blog site, DHS issued a form-like statement denying the allegations.
"ICE doesn't comment on unfounded claims and will respond to Mr. Hayes' allegations as appropriate through the judicial system," a DHS spokesman said.
A representative for Schriro also issued a statement saying her "selection and service at DHS were based on the merits. Any suggestion to the contrary is false."
According to the lawsuit, in late 2009 DHS launched or re-opened at least six different misconduct probes against Hayes that all ended with findings they were "without merit."
"'On information and belief, these investigations were initiated by the agency in order to intimidate the plaintiff,'" the suit said.
Hayes is seeking more than $330,000 in damages; however an investigation of Napolitano on charges of discrimination could have broader political ramifications since she was appointed by President Barack Obama.