Grays v. Mayorkas

Johnny Grays, et al. v. Mayorkas, et al., No. 3:21-cv-10526-RHC-KGA (E.D. Mich., filed Mar. 9, 2021)

Johnny Grays, Mikal Williams, and Jermaine O. Broderick, Sr., are all Black Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) officers at the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, Michigan, where only four out of 275 CBP officers are Black. They claim that, for over a decade, CBP management at the Port Huron Port of Entry systematically targeted Black drivers for stops; subjected them to additional scrutiny, including criminal record checks; and treated them in an unprofessional and demeaning fashion. They also claim that as Black CBP officers they were subjected to a hostile, racist work environment in which other CBP officers repeatedly made racist comments and were demeaning.

On March 9, 2021, Grays, Williams, and Broderick, Sr. filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Michigan alleging widespread discrimination against Black travelers and Black CBP officers at the Port Huron, Michigan Port of Entry. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, and on July 29, 2021, the court granted in part and denied in part the motion, dismissing Plaintiffs’ claim for discrimination under § 1981 as preempted by Title VII, but allowing Plaintiffs to proceed on their Title VII disparate treatment claim and allowing Grays to proceed on his Title VII hostile work environment and retaliation claims. The court also expressly permitted Plaintiffs Williams and Broderick to amend their complaint by August 20, 2021 to include Title VII retaliation claims after administratively exhausting. On August 12, 2021, Defendants filed their answer to the complaint. On August 23, 2021, after Plaintiffs advised the Court that their administrative remedies would not be exhausted by August 20 (as such claims can only be filed 180 days after filing an Equal Employment Opportunity administrative complaint), the Court issued an order permitting Plaintiffs to file their retaliation claims subsequent to this deadline. As such, the Court amended the case caption to reflect that Johnny Grays is the sole remaining Plaintiff in this action.

Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss

Counsel: Deborah Gordon Law

Contact: Deborah Gordon, Deborah Gordon Law | (248) 258-2500 | dgordon@deborahgordonlaw.com

Additional Links:

• Zack Linly, 3 Black Border Patrol Officers File Lawsuit Against CBP Alleging Constant Racial Profiling and Harassment of Black Travelers, The Root, Apr. 21, 2021.