Politics

Senator: FBI Retaliates Against Women Reporting Gender Discrimination

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Patrick Howley
Political Reporter

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley claimed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is retaliating against female whistleblowers that reported gender discrimination at the agency.

Eight FBI employees that reported gender discrimination, including seven women, said that the FBI uses a secretive method of punishment against whistleblowers that deprives them of due process and a right to appeal punitive measures.

One of the female whistleblowers was disciplined for allegedly being “emotionally unstable” and “unable to work with others” for asserting that her hazardous materials suit did not fit women, The Daily Caller has learned. Another whistleblower claimed that she was denied a job for which she was most qualified out of six candidates because management said she was “emotionally fragile” after experiencing a divorce.

“At a hearing on May 21, 2014, I brought to your attention the cases of three female whistleblowers at the FBI,” Grassley wrote to Comey in a letter obtained by TheDC. Grassley was referring to a Judiciary Committee hearing that was completely whitewashed by the mainstream media. “Each one previously worked as a supervisor in FBI offices where their colleagues were predominantly male.  These women alleged that they suffered gender discrimination and that they were retaliated against when they reported these abuses through the Equal Employment Opportunity process or other means.”

Grassley noted that Comey pledged to cooperate with an inspector general review of the allegations and to ensure that no further retaliation occurred. But the FBI has not lived up to its promise.

“However, the above-referenced whistleblowers have raised more pressing concerns of retaliation from their immediate supervisors,” Grassley wrote. “For example, one whistleblower reports that her current, male supervisor is a friend of the man who was the subject of her initial complaint of gender discrimination.  On behalf of this friend, the whistleblower’s current supervisor is reportedly perpetrating subtler forms of retaliation against her.”

“In addition, since the May 21, 2014 hearing, five additional FBI whistleblowers have contacted my office,” Grassley wrote. “Four of them are women who claim that they were retaliated against after reporting gender discrimination.  The fifth is a male coworker who allegedly suffered reprisal when he spoke out against the alleged discrimination.”

Grassley wrote that the FBI uses so-called “Loss of Effectiveness,” or LOE orders to retaliate against whistleblowers. FBI managers can use LOE orders to hand out punishments without going through the Office of Professional Responsibility.

Unlike an OPR review, an LOE does not provide the employee in question a right of appeal,” Grassley wrote, noting that FBI managers use LOE orders as basis for demotion.

The FBI is not the only Obama administration agency suffering claims of workplace discrimination and whistleblower reprisal. A Department of Labor employees union recently alleged racial discrimination within the department. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is currently investigating claims of whistleblower reprisal at the Department of Veterans Affairs from nineteen different states.

The FBI did not immediately return a request for comment on this report.

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