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FBI employee files lawsuit, says others were jealous of her looks

Those who have been in the workforce for quite some time have probably encountered a co-worker here and there that they just couldn't get along with very well. San Diego residents come from a variety of backgrounds and personalities, and sometimes these personalities clash.

However, many co-workers and managers understand that they must remain professional in the workplace. When folks cannot set their differences aside to act in a professional manner, employers may need to step in to address and prevent harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

One woman is claiming that she endured harassment and discrimination in the workplace on numerous occasions while working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Because the FBI failed to properly address her complaints -- and instead retaliated against her for raising concerns about a hostile work environment -- the woman said that she is now suing the Department of Justice, which oversees the FBI.

The FBI employee's lawsuit was filed earlier this week. According to the lawsuit, the woman started working for the FBI in New Mexico in December 2002 and had received a promotion by the end of 2007. But after receiving her promotion, co-workers began to harass her, accusing her of having an inappropriate relationship with a manager.

The lawsuit does cite race and gender discrimination, claiming that the woman "was targeted, harassed and retaliated against because she is an attractive Hispanic female with a career in Latin music."

Co-workers began spreading rumors and refused to train her on her new duties because they were jealous of her, the lawsuit states. But when the woman raised concerns with management, nothing was done to improve the work environment. Instead, the woman began to receive poor performance reviews from supervisors. The lawsuit claims that this retaliation in the workplace violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is meant to protect workers from retaliation.

Although the woman does still work for the FBI, she has relocated to a different office in California. She is hoping that this lawsuit will force the FBI to reconsider how it handles similar situations in the future. The employee is seeking unspecified damages.

Source: ABC News, "New Mexico Ex-FBI Employee Says Co-Workers Were 'Jealous' of Her, Sues Employer," Susanna Kim, June 21, 2012