Robbie Hargett Aug. 27, 2015, 1:43pm


A Harris County woman is suing the secretary of the department of homeland security, alleging discrimination in job selection.

Laura Ratliff-Owens of Tomball filed a lawsuit Aug. 21 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas against Jeh C. Johnson, secretary of the department of homeland security, alleging discrimination and retaliation.

According to the complaint, Ratliff-Owens, who was employed at CBP, Houston Service Port for five years and was a union steward for the National Treasury Employees Union, learned on two separate occasions (April 8, 2009 and Sept. 15, 2009) she was not selected for the position of senior import specialist even though she was rated best qualified by the agency's rating system.

The suit further alleges Ratliff-Owens' non-selection was discriminatory because she is a white female with prior protected activity. The defendant did not select anyone for the position Ratliff-Owens applied for, according to the suit.

The suit says the plaintiff has experienced loss of income from the non-selection, damages to her personal and professional reputations, loss of personal esteem, distress and loss of her job when she resigned from the agency April 23, 2012.

Ratliff-Owens seeks back pay as if she had been properly selected, compensatory damages of $1 million, an order requiring the defendant to post notice that the defendant has engaged in discriminatory practices and costs of the suit. She is self-represented in the case.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas case number 4:15-cv-02422.

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