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Burns-Ramirez v. Napolitano

United States District Court, District Circuit

August 27, 2013

ANGELA BURNS-RAMIREZ, Plaintiff,
v.
JANET NAPOLITANO, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security Defendant.

OPINION

ROSEMARY M. COLLYER, United States District Judge

Angela Burns-Ramirez, a former Secret Service employee, brought suit claiming harassment and discrimination based on her gender and her race (African American) and retaliation when she complained. These claims are based in part on allegations that she was subject to adverse employment actions when her Top Secret Security Clearance was suspended twice and later revoked. Defendant moves to dismiss in part, asserting inter alia that all claims regarding the Security Clearance are non-justiciable. The motion will be granted with regard to claims that challenge decisions to investigate, suspend, and/or revoke the Security Clearance of Ms. Burns-Ramirez. However, the motion will be denied with regard to claims asserting that agency employees acted with illegal discriminatory or retaliatory motive by knowingly reporting false information about her to the security division of the Secret Service.

I. FACTS

When she retired in October 2012, Ms. Burns-Ramirez was a GS-14 employee who had been employed by the Secret Service for almost three decades. This suit relates to events that occurred during her last three years with the Service. The Amended Complaint [Dkt. 7] alleges as follows:

(1) In 2009, Ms. Burns-Ramirez bid on twelve different GS-15 positions but was not selected due to her gender and race.

(2) In 2009 and 2010, she received low performance evaluations that were undeserved and discriminatory.

(3) In July 2010, she complained that her first- and second-line supervisors subjected her to harassment and retaliation. The Service did not investigate her complaint as they did when a white woman complained.

(4) On March 2, 2011 Secret Service Agents came to her home and confiscated her weapon, handcuffs, radio, commission book, government car, government computer, and official credentials; on March 8, 2011, the Service suspended her Top Secret Security Clearance. About two weeks later, the Service reinstated her Security Clearance.

(5) On June 15, 2011 Ms. Burns-Ramirez’s Security Clearance was suspended again.

(6) On September 19, 2011 her Security Clearance was revoked. Because a Security Clearance is mandatory for a Secret Service Agent and she no longer had one, Ms. Burns-Ramirez retired, effective October 1, 2012.

(7) Ms. Burns-Ramirez alleges that the investigation, suspension, and revocation of her Security Clearance were due to co-workers’ false statements about her––statements they made with discriminatory and/or retaliatory motive, knowing them to be false.

Ms. Burns-Ramirez now sues the Department of Homeland Security, asserting illegal discrimination and retaliation by its constituent agency, the Secret Service. The Amended Complaint asserts six counts:

Count I – Race discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. ...

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