DOJ watchdog report finds 46% of female trainees were dismissed at FBI training program

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DOJ watchdog report finds 46% of female trainees were dismissed at FBI training program

According to a Department of Justice Inspector General report released Tuesday, women who attended the FBI's training program were dismissed at higher rates than men, received harsher evaluations and faced sexist remarks by instructors.

The FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, was visited by a survey and interviews of male and female trainees from 2015 to 2020.

Despite the fact that only 25% of the trainees were dismissed during the period, the report shows that women accounted for 46% of all the trainees dismissed. More than 40% of female trainees said that males received more favorable treatment during tactical evaluations and that instructors criticized female trainees more.

Half of the survey respondents said that instructors told sexist stories or jokes.

The training environment that is free of bias is essential to ensure equal opportunities for all new FBI agents and intelligence analysts, according to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

The review was initiated after 16 women filed a class-action lawsuit in 2019 alleging gender discrimination and sexual harassment at the FBI AcademyFBI Academy. Ten of the plaintiffs spoke out to NBC News about the treatment they received at the training facility.

One of the women said that they made me feel like I was worthless and disposable.

The Office of Inspector General did not examine the specific allegations outlined in the lawsuit.

The FBI's Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Affairs notified the FBI's office of equal employment opportunity affairs in October 2018 of an increase in complaint cases and inquiries dating back to 2015.

In the year 2018 there was a 340% increase in informal filings to the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Affairs. Most of the complaints involved allegations of dismissals from the training program on the basis of sex, and identified the Tactical Training Unit as a source of intimidation.

The report makes seven recommendations to the FBI to improve gender equality in the training program, including additional reviews of data, collection of feedback and internal controls for tactical training to reduce potential bias.

The FBI has agreed to all of the recommendations, the agency said. Timothy Dunham, assistant director for the FBI's training division, said in a letter that was included in the report that the FBI has made gender equality a priority and has seen several improvements since this review was initiated.

When contacted by NBC News, the FBI referred to its response in the report.