Women sue FBI over alleged discrimination, harassment at training academy

Women sue FBI over alleged discrimination, harassment at training academy
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Sixteen women have sued the FBI, accusing the bureau of gender discrimination in the training process and encouraging a “Good Old Boy Network” within the organizational culture, according to NBC News.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs say they were penalized for behavior men were not and that they encountered sexual harassment within the agency. Seven of the women currently work at the FBI.

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One of 10 women who agreed to be interviewed by NBC, Lauren Rose, provided an email from then-FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyHouse Democrats seeking Sessions's testimony in impeachment probe Justice OIG completes probe on FBI surveillance of ex-Trump campaign aide Aggrieved Trump rips Dems for 'sad' impeachment effort MORE after she reached out to him about being dismissed from training after nearly six years with the bureau. Rose told Comey she had repeatedly attempted to get clarification from a supervisor on why she was dismissed a week before her graduation in 2015.

In response, Comey said he would defer to her supervisors, writing, “I believe I have thoughtful leaders at Training Division, who apply tremendous care to such decisions.” He advised her to “stare hard at the situation and what it teaches you, especially about your strengths and weaknesses."

Another plaintiff, Paula Bird, said she was issued demerits for not using a flashlight in the dark during a training exercise but that a male colleague was not penalized for doing the same that day, according to NBC.

"It became very clear that there were people that they considered that needed to be watched, and that group would have majority females," Bird, who graduated from law school at 22, told NBC. "You're in the group that, 'You don't know what you're doing, you're not very good, and we're going to watch every move you make because we're expecting you to fail.'"

The complaint claims more than 100 women enrolled at the Basic Field Training Course in Quantico faced some form of gender discrimination, particularly for women of color or disabled women. While it is a proposed class-action lawsuit, the class has not yet been certified, according to NBC.

"The FBI has intentionally allowed the Good Old Boy Network to flourish unrestrained at the FBI Academy," the lawsuit reads. "Training Division staff, including instructors, supervisors, field counselors, managers, and review board members, frequently dismiss mistakes made by male trainees as isolated incidents, determine male trainees to be retrainable, and retain them at the Academy at a disproportionately higher rate than their female trainee counterparts."