May 30, 2019

More than a dozen women who sought FBI agent positions accused the bureau of allowing rampant bias in its training program in a proposed class action filed in Washington, D.C., federal court, saying it let men off the hook for the same mistakes it cited to reject most of them.

Sixteen women say the FBI violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by washing them and other women out of its agent training program and otherwise mistreating them because of their sex, attacking the program as "highly subjective and subversive of the purpose of a training academy." In the complaint filed Wednesday, some of the women allege they were subject to racial statements or sexual advances from the instructors, who they claim applied sexist double standards.

"Through passive tolerance, the FBI has intentionally allowed the Good Old Boy Network to flourish unrestrained at the FBI Academy," the trainees say.

The suit focuses on the allegedly unfair allocation of write-ups, known as suitability notations, to women during the tactical training unit portion of agent school. The women claim these demerits "are not issued uniformly, which creates a lack of equality amongst trainees." Women bear the brunt of this inequality, the trainees say.

They allege the FBI directs instructors and supervisors to issue SNs to document certain "trainee deficiencies," such as when trainees point a weapon at a fellow agent. But "these mandatory citations are only mandatory when citing female trainees," while "identical errors made by male trainees are regularly ignored and undocumented," they say.

The trainees describe this alleged unequal treatment in portions of the complaint detailing the experiences of each named plaintiff, only one of whom actually became an agent.

The complete article can be accessed here.