Disabled Veteran Wins Landmark Discrimination Suit Against FBI

Disabled Vet Wins Discrimination Case Against FBI
Disabled Vet Wins Discrimination Case Against FBI

Many veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have found re-entering the workforce tough. It's well known that discrimination is rampant, especially against wounded warriors. Still, the latest employer to have lost a lawsuit filed by a disabled soldier may come as a surprise: the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

After two tours of duty in Iran and one in Afghanistan, Army Ranger Justin Slaby lost his left hand when a stun grenade prematurely exploded in a training exercise in 2004, according to court papers. He had always dreamed of being an FBI agent. It was one of Slaby's doctors who suggested that he apply to the FBI, according to NPR, which also reported that Slaby passed a fitness-for-duty exam in 2010, including proving how he could shoot while wearing either of his two state-of-the-art prosthetics.

Slaby's suit claimed that "the FBI instructors at the academy in Quantico responded to his presence with incredible hostility and abject disrespect." As NPR reported:

According to the lawsuit, Slaby's classmates overheard their trainers snickering in the hallway: "What are they going to send us next? Guys in wheelchairs?" They'd never had a guy like Slaby try to be an agent, and they seemed determined to prove he couldn't cut it.

Six weeks into a 21-week course, the native of Oak Creek, Wis., says that he was told that he couldn't cut it and was out. Slaby sued and on Aug. 7 won a landmark discrimination lawsuit against the FBI. Not only will the 30-year-old get his job back, but a jury awarded him $75,000 in damages. He will be the first FBI agent with a prosthetic limb. And an FBI official who allegedly tried to pressure a witness involved in the case is under investigation and has been reassigned.