Female FBI special agent files lawsuit for discrimination against women in the workplace


Washington, DC–Special agent, Shannon Muldrow, files civil action lawsuit against the United States Attorney General, William Barr, for discrimination against women in the FBI. Muldrow claims that the requirements that have been put in place for the promotions she has applied for, and is certainly qualified for, have been impossible for her to complete because it would require her to leave her children for an extended period of time to work in the Washington, DC FBI Headquarters. Kelley Brooks Simoneaux, founder of the Spinal Cord Injury Law Firm, is working alongside long-time civil rights attorney, David Shaffer, on this case. 

This particular case is important to Ms. Simoneaux because as a working mom she knows the challenges faced by working moms on a daily basis. Ms. Simoneaux, mother of two, hopes that this case will set a legal precedent which would make it illegal to have policies and procedures in place that discriminates against parents, and mothers, in particular.  

Law360, in their article about this new case noted that Special Agent Shannon Muldrow was knocked out of the running for two promotions because the requirements are designed to benefit men and discriminate against women with child care responsibilities.

“This is a disparate treatment and disparate impact case brought by an exceptionally qualified female Special Agent challenging the FBI’s promotion practices that allow managers to choose their friends and preselected candidates by ignoring FBI policies and procedures,” Muldrow’s attorney, David J. Shaffer, told Law360. 

Even though Muldrow had told Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Kristin Rehler, that she could not complete a temporary duty travel assignment in D.C. because she could not get child care, Rehler advised that people “make choices” and pointed to the fact that Muldrow had “family commitments” and had “made a choice,” according to the complaint.

“It is more difficult for female FBI agents who have minor children to leave their family to work for extended periods of time on [temporary duty assignments] at [FBI headquarters in] Washington, D.C., than it is for male FBI agents to do so,” Muldrow alleged. “Rehler used this practice to discriminate intentionally against SA Muldrow by requiring Special Agent Muldrow to complete a [temporary duty assignment] before being promoted.”

Muldrow added that this policy of favoring agents that spent time at headquarters “has a disparate impact on female agents,” as it favors people that aren’t primary caregivers, a burden that tends to fall on women.

Her lawyer, Schaffer, added that this practice results in the “severe lack of representation by women and minorities in FBI management.”

According to agency data, white males account for the overwhelming majority of FBI special agents, making up 67.2% of that workforce. White women account for 16.2%, and Black, Hispanic, and Asian men each account for between 3% to 5%. Minority women — Black, Latina, Asian, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and multi-racial — together account for less than 4% of special agents.

Muldrow is represented by David J. Shaffer and Kelley Brooks Simoneaux of David Shaffer Law PLLC.

Counsel information for the FBI is not yet available.

The case is Muldrow v. Barr, case number 1:20-cv-02958, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

If you would like more information about this case, please contact Kelley Brooks Simoneaux at kelley@spinalcordinjurylawyers.com.