Former FBI Worker Sues, Claiming She Was Harassed For Being Attractive

Over the last few years, several women have sued their employers, claiming that they were treated unfairly because of their above-average looks. The public usually has a good laugh at their expense, and the lawsuits don't have a great record of success. But that hasn't deterred an FBI employee and professional singer, who is now suing the Department of Justice, claiming her co-workers harassed and discriminated against her because they were "jealous of her appearance and Latin singing career."

Erika Bonilla, 38, began working at the FBI field office in Albuquerque, N.M. a decade ago, reports ABC News, and in 2007 she was promoted to administrative specialist, doing recruitment, applicant testing, and human resources work, according to her lawsuit.

She is also a professional Latin music singer, with a record deal for a second album, and has performed at several FBI functions.

Her suit claims that other employees spread rumors that she only got her promotion because she's easy on the eyes. One co-worker "made comments about how they need to 'get rid of Erika,'" and another spread gossip that she had sexual relations with a higher-up, the lawsuit claims. They also refused to train her and rummaged through her personal belongings.

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Bonilla claims she complained repeatedly to managers. A subsequent investigation corroborated some of her claims, according to ABC, but Bonilla complained in her lawsuit that management, while investigating, rudely questioned her about whether she'd slept with an executive.

Then in April 2009, Bonilla claims she was subjected to an investigation about her time and attendance, requiring that she "document every minute of her day for over a year," according to the lawsuit, and that if she did not complete this "nearly impossible feat" she would be suspended. She received a 10-day unpaid suspension that went on her permanent record. Her lawyer Monnica Garcia claims the agency ignored evidence in disciplining Bonilla, and later that year Bonilla filed a complaint of employment discrimination with the FBI's Equal Employment Opportunity Affairs.

The lawsuit alleges that Bonilla's co-workers retaliated against her for doing so, filing multiple anonymous complaints with management about Bonilla's "appearance, time and attendance and work ethic." In April 2010, another anonymous complaint came in that called Bonilla's clothing "offensive."

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Bonilla says she also began to get lower performance ratings from her supervisors and eventually was moved to another agency office in California. (She says that she's even received an award for her performance there.)

Garcia contends that Bonilla was targeted for being an attractive Hispanic woman with a music career, who won a promotion. And despite years of stress, which impacted Bonilla's health and gave her high blood pressure, the agency did nothing to stop it. Neither the FBI nor the Department of Justice commenting on the story, citing the ongoing litigation.

Bonilla is seeking unspecified damages for back pay "and other equitable relief."

Several other women have filed sex discrimination lawsuits, accusing co-workers and supervisors of treating them unfairly because of their attractive looks. Last month, Lauren Odes filed a lawsuit against the the lingerie company where she briefly worked, claiming that she was fired for her bustiness and form-fitting outfits. Debrahlee Lorenza filed a lawsuit against Citibank in 2010, alleging that she was fired for her "distracting" body.

The only big difference between these suits and Bonilla's is that Bonilla hasn't hired Gloria Allred as her lawyer.

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i think she's attractive....dont u?

July 06 2012 at 11:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
L'il Gangsta 40 Blun

Marieasprague get the heck over yourself. I am a man who had a 127 IQ in 2nd grade. I was in "gifted" programs my whole life. I was the best athlete. I used to beat the crap out of bullies. Some much older than me. I am extremely good looking. But unlike you and you fellow bimbo erika I followed the dress code at work and never had a problem. The problem is not that she's too beautiful. the problem is that she's a female and god forbid you tell a girl what to wear. If you don't want to get treated like a who*e don't dress like one at work. Dress like one when you go out or go to the beach but you sound like this bimbo M. Too beautiful for therapy? give me a break. I've had hot doctors and therapists and was never distracted by their looks. get over yourself. just because your parents told you you were good looking doesn't mean you are M. Let's see your picture miss"I'm too beautiful for my patients.." LOLOLOLOLOLOL No offense but you sound like an idiot miss genius level IQ.

June 29 2012 at 9:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is not a farce, it is a real problem. I am a board certified
psychiatrist, graduated with honors in medical school, have a genius level
IQ, and after 10 years in the medical profession I have been repeatedly
harassed by patients, co-workers and colleagues because of my looks that
most people deem "attractive". I have had patient's terminate therapy with
me despite progress "because you are too beautiful to look at and too
distracting." It had nothing to do with my personality or professionalism;
it was strictly based on looks. I used to wear on over sized lab coat for
most of my residency to hide my body/looks, but it did little to solve the
problem. I have even lost a job due to jealous female nurses who made my
work environment intolerable and spread rumors about me. I finally found a
wonderful job and great work environment, and I surmise it's because there
are many attractive female co-workers at my current job and we love and
appreciate each other. You ask, "Who cares"? You should, this is an actual
and real problem. It is dehumanizing to judge someone based solely on looks
and worse yet to minimize it and say it's inconsequential.

June 23 2012 at 7:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If she dressed like the photo at work she should have been reprimanded, if she was harassed they should have been reprimanded, if not, the boss should have been reprimanded. This problem is due to poor leadership. This is management 101.

June 23 2012 at 7:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Looks like every other bleached blonde to me.

June 23 2012 at 7:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Her picture does not justify her claim; dress a little modest and she would blend in the crowd. From the picture I would say that it's her way of dressing, and her opinion of herslf that should be blamed.

June 23 2012 at 3:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The FBI and police has control of my computer as hacking and all , sense 10-13-11 . Stalkedme down from maassas to winchester to texas , hw cold and messing with my aol mail , controling my pass word and they are deleting my sent mail and changing some of my stored pictures . Guess made calls so I cannot get right care to my injury .

June 23 2012 at 3:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It is true that police and FBI hate petty wemen , and blame them for all kinds of stuff , like she is beautifying her self , that what I heard from my boom box , police radio interrupted my music . They hate petty people , period , and she deserve to sue them . Is not fair tha they discriminate . Why ?

June 23 2012 at 2:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Attractive??!!, Naw!!!..The FBI just could'nt deal with her WMD's

June 23 2012 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is baloney-grow up

June 23 2012 at 1:14 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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