Entries in Sex Discrimination (2)


FBI Fitness Test Biased Against Men?

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- A male employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is suing the agency for gender discrimination, claiming that a physical fitness test to become an FBI agent is biased against men.

Jay Bauer, a Ph.D. graduate of Northwestern University from Mount Prospect, Ill., said he missed the fitness test by one-push up, completing only 29 push-ups instead of the minimum 30 required for male trainees, which disqualified him from becoming a special agent.  The test, administered at the FBI academy in Quantico, Va., has different physical minimum requirements for female and male trainees.

Bauer argues in the complaint that the FBI violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  He also alleges a trainee who failed to pass the female standards of the physical test was given a second chance.

The suit states "desiring to use his skills and experience for the public good, [Bauer] left an academic position at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to join the FBI as a Special Agent."  During New Agent Training at Quantico, which he joined around March 2009, he relocated his wife and two children, ages 3 and 5 at the time, to Cook County, Ill., after receiving his first office assignment to the FBI's Chicago Division.  He is currently an intelligence analyst there.

Bauer said new female agent trainees became special agents despite completing fewer than half the number of push-ups and scoring fewer overall points than he did on even the female version of the physical fitness test (PFT).

One particular female trainee was "at or near the bottom of the class in performance" in firearms training, "struggled" in academics training, and appeared "to lack the dedication and mental-toughness" for the special agent position.  The suit states Bauer was at or near the top of the class in performance in all other areas "and, in fact, was voted by his peers during the [New Agent Training Program] as the class leader, designating him to speak on their behalf at graduation."

Bauer and Michelle Reese Andrew, his attorney, declined to comment for the story.

The suit was filed last week in an Illinois district court against Attorney General Eric Holder.  The Department of Justice oversees the FBI.

Bill Carter, an FBI spokesperson, said "it has long been [FBI's policy] to not comment on pending lawsuits," and declined to respond to the details listed in the suit.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


After 20 Years, DEA Sex Discrimination Case Ends

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock LikeViews: 0(WASHINGTON) -- It took her 20 years, but Ann Garcia, a retired special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, finally won her battle against her former employer.

In 1992, Garcia brought a lawsuit against the DEA, arguing that she and some 200 other female agents had tried repeatedly to obtain plum overseas assignments but were blocked because the agency discriminated against them based on their sex.

Late last month, a federal administrative judge ruled that the DEA had "repeatedly and purposefully" discriminated against the class of female agents in the early '90s, and that the women had been treated less favorably than their male counterparts at the DEA.

The case was pending for two decades at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination in the private and federal sectors.

Garcia couldn't believe it took so long for the judge to rule on the merits of the case.

"It's been going on for almost 20 years," said Garcia. "The women of DEA suffered blatant discrimination in the workplace for years, decades. The ruling is a testament to the strength and the courage of many DEA agents who refused to accept the status quo."

In her ruling, Administrative Judge Frances del Toro wrote, "Although many qualified females applied for overseas positions, males were routinely selected over equally or better qualified female agents."

The next phase of the case will focus on damages.

"What we are hoping for is relief for all these women who lost out on foreign assignments, which could include back pay and compensatory damages for the pain and suffering they experienced. Those amounts will be different for each woman, but the EEOC allows for a maximum of $300,000 per person for compensatory damages relief," said Cathy Harris, Garcia's attorney from the firm Kator Parks & Weiser.

For now, Garcia, who is spending her retirement in New Mexico, is grateful for the judge's decision. "I just hope that DEA can recognize that injustices were done, " she said, "and do the right thing by the women of DEA. "

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio