By Steve Neavling
As the FBI tries to increase its ranks of female agents, 16 women have sued the bureau, claiming they were sexually harassed at the FBI’s training academy in Quantico, Va.
The lawsuit alleges the academy is a “good-old-boy network” that exposes women to a hostile work environment, inappropriate jokes and sexual advances beginning in 2015, The New York Times reports .
The suit also claims some of the women were discriminated against based on their race or disabilities. One African American trainee alleges an instructor called her “spaghetti head” because of her braids.
The lawsuit zeroed in on the mock town known as Hogan’s Alley , where trainees learn about tactical training with fake criminals and terrorists. This phase of training resulted in many women being kicked out of the academy.
“The real purpose of the suit is to change the culture of the F.B.I.,” said David J. Shaffer, the lawyer for the women.
Seven of the 16 women still work for the FBI.
The women are asking for more female training instructors, an examination of the training evaluation process and $300,000 each for emotional stress.
The FBI wouldn’t publicly comment on the lawsuit but told the New York Times in a statement that the bureau was “committed to fostering a work environment where all of our employees are valued and respected.”