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BLACK AGENTS EXPAND SUIT AGAINST BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO & FIREARMS

 WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Alleging discrimination in hiring and employment practices and racial harassment, African- American Special Agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) filed papers today in federal court in the District of Columbia, seeking to expand their race discrimination suit against the bureau.
 The expanded class action suit, brought by 15 African-American Special Agents on behalf of over 180 others, alleges that the ATF discriminates against African-American Special Agents in hiring, promotions, performance evaluations, discipline, assignments, awards, training, and other personnel practices.
 The suit also alleges that the ATF has an atmosphere of racial harassment and retaliates against agents who complain about discriminatory practices.
 "ATF has known about these problems since at least 1984, but has consistently failed to deal with them," said David J. Shaffer, a partner at the 150 lawyer firm of Semmes, Bowen & Semmes. Shaffer and Richard T. Sampson, also a partner at Semmes, are representing the Special Agents.
 "We intend to force ATF to address these problems, and to do so now," Shaffer continued.
 Plaintiffs Larry Stewart and Mark Jones noted that the bureau has retaliated against them for their participation in the action, and has even tried to prevent them from testifying in congressional hearings on discrimination at ATF last October.
 A recent study by the General Accounting Office documented deficiencies in the hiring of women and other minorities at ATF. ATF has also been under scrutiny as a result of numerous claims of sexual harassment and sex discrimination by female Special Agents.
 -0- 1/15/92
 /NOTE: African-American Special Agents who are representatives of the class and their attorneys will be available for a media briefing from noon-2 p.m. today at the offices of Semmes, Bowen & Semmes, 1025 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Suite 500, Washington, to discuss the case. Copies of the 40-page class complaint filed in the suit will be available./
 /CONTACT: David J. Shaffer or Richard T. Sampson of Semmes, Bowen & Semmes, 202-778-8686/


CO: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:

TW -- DC003 -- 5212 01/15/93 08:33 EST
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Date:Jan 15, 1993
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