Tuesday, September 16, 2008

FBI employee with PTSD can proceed with lawsuit

Case Law Update - FBI Employee Who Suffered From Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-Related Sleeping Problems Can Proceed With His Rehabilitation Act Lawsuit, D.C. Circuit Rules

September 16, 2008
In a case of first impression, the D.C. Circuit has ruled that an FBI employee who suffered from post traumatic stress disorder-related sleeping problems can proceed with his Rehabilitation Act lawsuit against the Bureau. Siding with three other circuit courts, the D.C. Circuit ruled that sleeping is a "major life activity" under the Rehabilitation Act, and therefore, the FBI employee who developed sleeping difficulties after being held at gunpoint could reasonably be found to have been disabled when the Bureau refused to permit him to graduate from its special agent training program.

The case began when the FBI employee applied to be a special agent in December 1996. While he was awaiting action on his application, he accepted a position as a financial assistant in the agency's Cleveland office. After passing the necessary tests, he was sent for new agent training at the FBI Academy in February 2000.

In the meantime, in December 1997, while living with his mother in Cleveland, the employee was home alone when an armed robber broke into the house. For an hour, the employee was held at gunpoint as the robber searched for valuables and repeatedly threatened to kill him and to return to rape his mother. Although the employee escaped and helped in the prosecution of the case, he began to suffer extreme anxiety, nightmares, sleeplessness, and extreme worry for his mother's safety.

Because of this, he repeatedly tried to get a post-training assignment to the Cleveland division, despite the fact he knew of the FBI's policy against transferring agents to different stations for personal reasons. In June 2000, the employee learned that his request would not be granted, and that he would be assigned to the Chicago field office. Consequently, he alleged, his sleeping problems deteriorated even further.
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This brings up a very interesting point. Do FBI agents and CIA agents develop PTSD and if not why not? DEA agents do but you don't read about them very often. Police and firefighters do, as well as all humans, so it's pretty much a given even the agents do. If they do, what is in place for them for help?

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