Lawyers representing an FBI agent in a retaliation suit against the agency have asked a federal appeals court in Washington to keep intact its ruling that sent the case back to the trial court for further proceedings.
The plaintiff, Wilfred Rattigan, who’d won a $300,000 judgment in Washington federal district court on claims that the FBI retaliated against him, said the appellate ruling in the case, while flawed, should not be overturned.
A divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in June remanded the case for further proceedings, vacating the judgment but not blocking a second trial.
In his complaint, Rattigan, a former legal attaché in Saudi Arabia, alleged the FBI retaliated against him for his complaints about race and national origin discrimination. Rattigan, a Jamaican-born Muslim, said supervisors created a report about him and sent it to the agency’s security division to investigate his security clearance.
Rattigan’s lawyers, Jonathan Moore of New York’s Beldock Levine & Hoffman and James Klimaski & Associates, in Washington, said in court papers (PDF) filed Aug. 26 that the U.S. Justice Department has taken an “extreme” position in the litigation.
Under the DOJ scheme, Rattigan’s attorneys said, an executive branch employee at any level “would be free to discriminate and retaliate against their colleagues as long as they characterize their discrimination or retaliation as related to a security clearance.”
“Vast categories of people would lose their right to be free from discrimination and retaliation in the workplace,” Rattigan’s lawyers said.