FBI agent sues for sexual discrimination after complaining that male agents slept on job

Posted at 4:19 PM, Feb 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-26 16:22:59-05

CINCINNATI — A former FBI supervisor filed a sexual discrimination and retaliation lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, claiming she was fired after she complained about male co-workers who slept on the job, lied about their work and drove bureau cars after drinking alcohol.

Jennifer Boughton, of West Chester, was an FBI agent from 2003 until she was fired in February 2016. For much of that time she was a supervisor who oversaw a mobile surveillance team in the Cincinnati field office.

Her lawsuit claims she had no discipline or performance issues, and received an “outstanding,” evaluation in October 2015.

Things changed in November 2015 when Boughton confided in her boss, Supervisory Special Agent Herbert Stapleton, who in turn reported to Special Agent in Charge Angela Byers, that she had feelings of isolation as the only woman on the team, the lawsuit states.

She disclosed how difficult it was to have male employees who were not accustomed to having a female supervisor, according to the lawsuit.

Boughton also disclosed that some male employees on her team were sleeping on duty, not securing covert materials, making false claims about the work they had done, misusing bureau cars, driving a bureau car while under the influence of alcohol, and refusing to follow job duties, according to the lawsuit.

In her role as team leader, Boughton asked repeatedly for an assistant to help with billing and covert administrative duties, but was denied, the lawsuit states.

In May 2015, the FBI moved Boughton from her job and assigned her to special projects. Two months later, a male was appointed to her old job. Within days, he was granted his request for an administrative assistant to help with billing, according to the lawsuit.

As a result of her demotion, the FBI reduced Boughton’s pay and revoked her bureau car privileges, the lawsuit states.

Boughton claims that her supervisors excluded her from an award for a successful counterterrorism operation in July 2015.

Boughton was reassigned again to a different squad in September 2015. This was just days after she had asked to attend a critical incident response conference and career enhancement training. She accused Stapleton of denying both requests, claiming it was “not a good time,” despite allowing a male team member to attend the trainings, according to the lawsuit.

Boughton was recommended for dismissal on February 2, 2016. On the same day she was suspended, her clearance was revoked and she was escorted out of the office, the lawsuit states.

Boughton claims her job was advertised prior to the final disposition of her Office of Professional Responsibility appeal.

Boughton filed the suit against U.S. Attorney General William Barr. A response for comment from U.S. Attorney Ben Glassman’s office was not immediately returned.

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