NEW YORK and LOS ANGELES, June 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Sixteen women have come forward to file a lawsuit claiming the bureau discriminates on the basis of gender in how it trains and evaluates female candidates.
The suit, filed on May 29, details how the women, seven of whom who still work for the FBI, were disciplined when male colleagues, who displayed the same behavior were allowed to get away with it. The women also claim that there was a male-biased review process in place, as well as overt sexual harassment.
One week before her May 2015 graduation, Lauren Rose was dismissed after serving with the FBI for six years. Failing to receive clarification from a supervisor over her dismissal, she reached out to then-director James Comey. Comey reportedly emailed Rose that he trusted the decisions of the training leadership, and would not interfere.
Another former new agent trainee, who is referred to as Jane Doe 1 in the lawsuit, described harassment of a sexual nature from four male classmates who tried to convince her to have sex with them. Jane Doe 1 says she has had to have a friend escort her to her room because at night she was being followed by one of those classmates.
The lawsuit alleges that over 100 women who recently enrolled at the FBI’s Basic Field Training Course in Quantico, VA as either new agent trainees or new intelligence analyst trainees have encountered some form of gender discrimination. It alleges that the problem is worse for women of color or those with disabilities.
The women claim they have also been subject to retaliation for reporting the harassment. Erika Wesley said she felt obligated to tell a superior about “excessive discrimination” against a female co-worker. According to Wesley, the response from her female unit chief was one of a threatening nature.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are being funded in part by the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which seeks to aid women who are the alleged victims of sexual harassment and retaliation across industries.
Carney Shegerian, the founder of Los Angeles-based employee rights law firm Shegerian & Associates, has weighed in on the suit.
“The FBI needs to set an example and hold itself to the same standards that it requires of others,” Shegerian says.
About Shegerian & Associates:
Shegerian & Associates has won clients over $300 million in employment-based disputes and maintains a 98% success rate. We have offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and New York.