FBI women not allowed to sue anonymously

FBI women not allowed to sue anonymously

The 16 women who filed a gender bias and sexual harassment case against the FBI cannot sue anonymously. U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled against the women, who were afraid they would be retaliated against if their names became known. Most of them continue to work at the FBI, in law enforcement, or in intelligence. Although the judge said that she was not convinced that the women’s fears were founded, she did allow that their addresses need not be published.

As someone who has been stalked in real life as a result of my postings on Facebook, I am not objective when it comes to something like this. I can easily imagine thousands of trolls going after these women because they are perceived as “feminazis” attacking the institution of the FBI under President Trump. I personally would be petrified to put my name out there.

Once their names are published, their addresses are easy to find. It’s called doxxing, the search for and publishing of identifying information about a person. This is what happened to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford after she came out against Justice Kavanaugh. Her address was published, she received death threats, and she had to go into hiding.

The attorney for the women suing the FBI is going to renew the motion and provide additional information about the threats these women already have endured. I am hopeful that the judge reconsiders her opinion and allows the women to go forward anonymously. The case is Bird et al v. William Barr et al, case number 1:19-cv-01581, before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

By R. Makana Risser Chai

Makana Risser Chai is a trainer, HR consultant and former Silicon Valley attorney who specializes in teaching courses on creating respectful workplaces by preventing harassment, bullying, disrespect, and unconscious bias.