According to a lawsuit filed against the U.S. Department of Justice, Erika Bonilla was harassed and discriminated against because she received a promotion her coworkers thought should have gone to someone else and because they were reportedly jealous of her beauty and singing career.
Bonilla, 38, began working at the FBI’s New Mexico field office in 2002. In the summer of 2007, Bonilla was promoted to Administrative Specialist. Thinking she was undeserving of the promotion, the lawsuit claims her coworkers began harassing her and spreading rumors she had slept with higher-ups to nab the promotion. The lawsuit also claims her belongings were rifled through.
Monnica Garcia, Bonilla’s attorney, said, “Ms. Bonilla indicated this harassment included maliciously false rumors, disparate treatment and frivolous complaints that caused her anguish and lost pay.” Adding. “This lawsuit was brought because, despite her repeated complaints to management, the agency failed to address the hostile work environment. Ms. Bonilla hopes this lawsuit will not only compensate her for her damages, but also prevent future acts of discrimination and retaliation.”
Though the promotion ruffled some feathers, Bonilla’s lawsuit also claims she “was targeted, harassed and retaliated against because she is an attractive Hispanic female with a career in Latin music.”
Bonilla is now living in California and continues both her Latin music and FBI careers. She is reportedly doing well at her new office, even having received an award.
As for the lawsuit, Bonilla is seeking unspecified damages, back pay, “and other equitable relief.”