A Latino man who worked for a Washington-based organization that advocates for limiting immigration has reached a settlement with the group after filing a formal complaint saying he encountered racism in the workplace.
Joe Gomez, a former employee of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, quit the job last year and filed a complaint with the D.C. Office of Human Rights over what he described as a toxic work environment.
According to the complaint, Gomez — the only Latino working for the group — joined FAIR to help the organization seek immigration reform but found a workplace where racial slurs were commonplace.
FAIR, which disputes the hate-group designation, announced last week that Gomez had retracted his claim, posting a statement that contained his signature.
“I never reported to any of my supervisors at FAIR that I was discriminated against or subjected to a hostile work environment on any basis throughout my employment,” the statement said.
In a separate statement, FAIR president Dan Stein said Gomez’s allegations were “always without foundation.”
Gomez, a Republican who said he voted for President Trump, declined to comment on the terms of the settlement.
Chris Bell, Gomez’s attorney, said FAIR incorrectly characterized the settlement in emails to the media, wrongly saying the D.C. Office of Human Rights dismissed the complaint because it had no merit. Instead, the office dismissed the complaint because a settlement was reached, Bell said.
The D.C. Office of Human Rights declined to comment on the case.
“If they continue to misrepresent the truth, I’m going to set the record straight,” Bell said. “There was never an agreement [FAIR] could go out and misrepresent the truth.”
Stein disputed Bell’s assessment of how the group characterized the settlement.
“You’re asking me to respond to nonsense,” Stein said. “They issued a full-scale retraction . . . People can judge it for themselves.”
Founded in 1979, FAIR says on its website that it seeks to “stop the flow of federal money to sanctuary cities” and “end the terrible policy of chain migration,” or family-based immigration. The Southern Policy Law Center says the group’s “leaders have ties to white supremacist groups and eugenicists,” which FAIR disputes.