She says the people she worked with hated her because of her good looks and her recording contracts. She’s not a rock star or contestant on American Idol, but a former administrative assistant at the FBI’s field office in Albuquerque, N.M.
In her lawsuit against the FBI, Erika Bonilla, who now works for the bureau in California, says she “was targeted, harassed and retaliated against because she is an attractive Hispanic female with a career in Latin music.”
Spokespersons for the FBI and the Department of Justice have declined to remark on the suit, which also states that the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility had already found that one of her colleagues had harassed her.
But Bonilla,38, says she was also harassed by the Office of Professional Responsibility during that investigation. The suit claims that she “was inappropriately questioned, in an accusatory fashion, [about] whether she had engaged in sexual relations with members of the executive management in exchange for promotion.”
The harassment began in 2002, when Bonilla was chosen over another colleague for a promotion to administrative specialist, according to the suit. Bonilla’s co-workers believed the other worker deserved the promotion and began spreading rumours that she had slept with her managers to get the job.
The suit also claims that Bonilla’s coworkers made anonymous and false claims to the FBI about her job performance, that she was required to document every minute of her working hours for a year and suspended for ten days when she couldn’t, and that she began to suffer from high blood pressure because of the stress caused by the harassment.