ICE chief of staff takes leave pending IG review

Wednesday - 8/15/2012, 12:16pm EDT

Suzanne Barr, the chief of staff for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has placed herself on leave pending a review of accusations from a discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by an ICE employee.

James T. Hayes Jr., the special agent in charge of ICE's New York field office, filed the suit in May against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Suzanne Barr, chief of staff, ICE (ICE photo)

In court documents, Hayes accused Barr of creating a "frat-house type atmosphere" at ICE aimed at targeting and humiliating male employees.

"These allegations are being made in connection with on-going litigation," ICE Public Affairs Director Brian P. Hale wrote in a statement. "ICE will respond directly and strongly to this lawsuit in court as is appropriate. In the meantime, ICE has referred these allegations to the DHS Office of Inspector General and the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility for review. Ms. Barr has voluntarily placed herself on leave pending the outcome of this review."

Fox News first reported the story.

Prior to coming to ICE in January 2009, Barr was the deputy director and director of legislative affairs in then-Arizona Governor Napolitano's office.