Slaby v. Holder

A jury found that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) discriminated against Justin Slaby when it refused to allow him to complete Special Agent training because of his disability – his prosthetic hand.

Slaby served as an Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan. He lost his hand when a grenade prematurely detonated during a 2004 training exercise back in America. But that did not stop his desire to serve our country.

Instead, he set out to become an FBI Special Agent. After extensive testing of his physical capabilities, beyond the testing that all Special Agent applicants receive, the FBI approved Slaby for New Agent Training in Quantico. Unfortunately, before Slaby even arrived at the academy, FBI trainers formed preconceived notions that he could not succeed as an agent merely because of his prosthetic hand, and never gave him a true opportunity to demonstrate his capabilities.

Slaby was subjected to extreme and unfair scrutiny, and was held to a different standard than the other trainees. The FBI assumed Slaby could not operate a firearm with his non-dominant hand, but Slaby was able to demonstrate to the jury that he was fully capable of transferring an unloaded practice pistol from hand to hand and pulling the trigger with his prosthesis.

The jury’s verdict ensured that Slaby could resume training, and he has since graduated to become the first FBI Special Agent with a prosthetic hand.

Media Coverage: [links:]

Federal Case Pits Wounded Warrior Against FBI (NPR 2013 article)