FBI Agent's Retaliation Claim Will Move Forward
WASHINGTON (CN) - A federal judge won't reconsider allowing a retaliation claim against the Department of Justice head Eric Holder, even though the agent's national origin discrimination claim got the axe.
Bassem Youssef sued the Attorney General in 2011, claiming his non-selection for a position with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's counterterrorism communications exploitation section constituted retaliation and discrimination.
The court granted the FBI's motion to dismiss the national origin discrimination claim, but allowed the retaliation claim to stand.
"Although based on the same factual events, plaintiff's national origin discrimination and retaliation claims are two separate claims for which plaintiff presented distinct sets of evidence," states U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in her ruling dismissing the FBI's motion to reconsider the previous ruling.
The judge states: "While the Court found that plaintiff failed to meet his burden and present sufficient evidence to create a genuine dispute as to whether the selection committee was actually motivated by discriminatory animus, the Court found that plaintiff did meet that burden as to his independent retaliation claim. In contrast to plaintiff's national origin discrimination claim, plaintiff was able to present more evidence of a potentially retaliatory motive such that a reasonable trier of fact could find that defendant's legitimate, non-discriminatory reason was pretext for retaliation."
Youssef filed a 2003 lawsuit against the FBI alleging national origin discrimination and retaliation following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, claiming that the bureau excluded him from positions associated with counterterrorism because of his Egyptian heritage. That case was still active when Youssef was denied the assistant section chief job with counterterrorism communications, but members of the board testified that they didn't know Youssef was involved in such a lawsuit at the time.