The woman says her stint at the FBI academy in Quantico, VA, was sabotaged by male trainers seeking to preserve a “good-old-boy” network.
A seventeenth woman has joined a sexual discrimination lawsuit against the FBI and its new-recruit training facility in Quantico, Virginia.
Filed as a class action in May, the suit alleges that the FBI’s training academy has characteristics of a “good-old-boy network,” with its instructors systematically discriminating against women, minorities and persons with disabilities. The complaint claims that, from 2015 onward, female recruits were forced to endure sexual harassment and inappropriate jokes, with one African-American trainee referred to as “spaghetti head.”
Furthermore, trainers purportedly tried to initiate sexual relationships with female recruits, even after being repeatedly rebuffed.
“The real purpose of the suit is to change the culture of the FBI,” attorney David J. Shaffer told The New York Times.
And the Washington Times reports that the latest entrant is identified in court documents only by her initials, T.S.
T.S. claims she was discharged from Quantico after being sabotaged by male supervisors. The lawsuit states that, in order to oust T.S., trainers lodged an extraordinary number of citations against her. Such citations, in the FBI, are called “suitability notations” and are issued at the discretion of instructors. Suitability notations may criticize candidates for specific issues, such as insubordination or inability to work in a group.
According to the Washington Times’ coverage of the case, T.S. received seven such notations; her instructors allegedly slipped another three into her personnel file without ever notifying her. The citations concerned her struggle to pass the FBI’s tactical exam, which she failed on the first attempt but passed on the second.
When T.S. complained about what she believed to be an unfair number of citations, she was threatened by a male supervisor.
“This isn’t going to end well,” an instructor told her. “Don’t get involved in the process. Take what we’re giving you.”
T.S. was soon dismissed, after which she filed a notice with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Washington Times notes that, while the EEOC issued a decision in November, the lawsuit doesn’t mention whether it was in favor of T.S.
Shaffer told the New York Times in May that the FBI had rejected his requests to discuss his clients’ complaints prior to initiating the lawsuit.
“I asked the FBI twice to sit down before this lawsuit, and the FBI would not respond to me,” Shaffer said. “It’s very unusual.”
Shaffer added that, in two previous class actions against the agency, the FBI had been very responsive.
The New York Times adds that T.S. and the other plaintiffs are receiving legal support from the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which advocates against sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.