Thursday, August 8, 2013


If you haven't heard...long story short.

Justin Slaby was a US Army Ranger.  He lost his left hand in a training accident. He later applied to the FBI to become a Special Agent.  The FBI Special Agent who oversaw his hiring process put him through all the tests required (requirements are HERE, they include push-ups and pull-ups).  Slaby was able to pass, and was hired.  Slaby was sent to the FBI Academy.  After approximately six weeks, the FBI terminated his training (he now has a job with the FBI as a support employee), and said he was not capable of doing the job.  

Justin Slaby
That is where the 'story' begins.  Slaby passed every test that the other New Agents in Training were required to.  However, he was selected for special tests due to his lack of a left hand.  He claims he was able to do everything he was asked - with the use of a prosthetic.  Ironically, if you are EXTREMELY dedicated, skilled, and physically strong - there is nothing requiring a left hand in FBI New Agent training.  The FBI firearms qualification courses do require shooting from your 'non-dominant' hand, as well as reloading your weapons.  Slaby was apparently able to do this with his prosthetic.  My guess - he outscored many two-handed trainees.  

So Slaby sued.  During the trial, the Special Agent who hired and processed Slaby testified that he made sure Slaby could pass every test that is required.  He said that Slaby was more than qualified.

And then it gets interesting.

That Special Agent also testified that prior to testifying he was called into the SAC's (Special Agent in Charge, pronounced "S, A, C," not "Sack" as in other agencies) office.  He testified that the SAC informed him that he should "come down on the side of the government, that Slaby was unqualified."  So, the SAC was called into the courtroom...and refused to testify.  Further, the SAC was moved from her job as SAC and brought back to FBIHQ, prior to testifying.  (I will say this, I would bet money that she was told to do this by counsel, and she is likely represented by the FBI on this one).

Also during the trial, Special Agents who are employed at the FBI Academy as instructors testified that while Slaby DID pass all there extra tests - they felt he would not be able to do the job.  If the job were to save a life with his left hand...or something.

Also during the trial, Special Agents of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team located at the FBI Academy (who now work with Slaby in his role as a support employee) testified that he was an excellent employee and well qualified.

Yesterday, Slaby won his lawsuit.  He was awarded $75,000.  Now he has to see if the FBI gives him a shot at becoming a Special Agent.  There is precedence...a win in court does not guarantee this.

My opinion:  I can not stand the idea that certain jobs can not discriminate on the basis of physical standards.  I believe Special Agent of the FBI is one of those jobs.  There should be a standard, and if a person can not pass that standard, they can not have the job.  And if they can pass the standard, they should get the job.

The physical standards for the FBI, as well as most police departments, and the United States Military have been lowered to allow women.  Slaby did not ask for the standards to be lowered, he asked to be given a chance to meet the standards.


LL said...

It seems that the SAC was a "sack".

I hope that he gets the job. Character counts too.

LL said...

If you know this guy, you might want to suggest that he apply at your sister agency if FBI doesn't want him. Should that become the case, let me know and I'll talk to the guys/galz.