WASHINGTON (CN) – Forty-five FBI agents claim the Bureau adopted a new, discriminatory policy limiting the number of years agents can serve as squad supervisors, to push out older agents. The 45 agents – all GS-14 squad supervisors in field offices – say the Bureau forced them to retire early, accept demotion and loss of pay, or suffer financial and personal hardship by accepting transfer to remote offices.
The agents sued the FBI in Federal Court for age discrimination.
All 45 plaintiffs are either current or retired agents who were forced by the term-limit policy to drop from GS-14 to GS-13 on the government pay scale.
GS-14 salaries start at $105,211; GS-13 salaries start at $89,033, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
“Plaintiffs contend that the FBI initiated the policy because of a perception by FBI managers that older agents who had held a supervisory position for several years had become stagnant and needed to be replaced with younger agents,” the complaint states.
“At the time the policy was adopted, FBI management knew that all of the supervisors subjected to the term policy would be over the age of 40.”
The agents claim that management knew the policy would affect only agents older than 40 – blatant age discrimination. “In fact, the data show that 100 percent of the 278 employees affected by the policy at the same time as plaintiffs were over the age of 40,” the complaint states.
The policy limited field office supervisors to maximum terms of 5 years. But after the Bureau pushed out hundreds of older agents, it modified the policy to allow the younger agents to keep their supervisory positions for 7 years, the complaint states.
The 45 agents sued U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. under the Discrimination in Employment Act, and want an order restoring their pay grade status, unspecified damages, and an injunction preventing the FBI from retaliating against them.
They are represented by Richard Swick with Swick Shapiro.