A former New Mexico FBI employee has named Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice in a lawsuit, claiming she was harassed on the job by coworkers who were “jealous of her appearance and Latin singing career,” according to ABC News.
Erika Bonilla was hired by the FBI to work in human resources in 2002, then was promoted in 2007 to be an administrative specialist. Once promoted, she claims she found herself in a hostile work environment with coworkers who wanted someone else to get the job, KQRE-TV reported.
Bonilla’s suit, filed earlier this week, says she “was targeted, harassed and retaliated against because she is an attractive Hispanic female with a career in Latin music.” According to ABC, Bonilla is seeking unspecified damages and back pay for racial and gender discrimination.
She said her fellow workers made snide comments about her outfits and even rifled through her purse. One employee, the suit states, “made comments about how they needed to ‘get rid of Erika,’” while another “falsely stated that the reason the position was given to [Bonilla] was because [she] had sexual relations with executive management in the Albuquerque Office.”
Bonilla ultimately filed a discrimination complaint with the FBI in 2009, but she claims her treatment just got worse, with her bosses unfairly scrutinizing her, scoring her lower in reviews and accusing her of time card abuse.
Bonilla has since transferred to an FBI office in California, where she has since received “good ratings…even obtaining an award,” the suit states.
Still, she says the workplace harassment caused her “a great deal of unnecessary stress for years” and she “also started having high blood pressure, which is a direct result of the work stress.”