Sixteen women who trained to become FBI agents and analysts have come forward in a proposed class action lawsuit filed Wednesday accusing the bureau of gender discrimination in how it trains and graduates new agents, NBC News reported.
The women, seven of whom still work at the FBI, detail incidents where they say they were punished for behavior their male counterparts got away with. They also describe what they say is a male-biased review process, and even overt sexual harassment.
Ten of the former trainees agreed to be interviewed by NBC News. Five of them asked not to be identified by their full names.
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The former trainees said their experiences at the FBI's training academy in Quantico, Va., left them feeling powerless and angry. "They made me feel like I was worthless and disposable," said one plaintiff, who asked to be identified only as "Ava."
The FBI did not respond to questions from NBC News about the specific allegations because it does not comment on pending litigation as a matter of policy. The bureau said in a statement that "the FBI is committed to fostering a work environment where all of our employees are valued and respected."