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Lab employee files lawsuit

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LANL > Security worker claims he was put in a position with less authority

By The Staff

A lawsuit filed by a Los Alamos National Laboratory employee alleges he was put in a position with less authority in retaliation for complaining that security protocols weren’t followed during VIP visits.

The suit was filed by Michael Irving in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, according to documents obtained by the Los Alamos Monitor.

The suit, filed by Irving’s attorney Donald Gilpin of Albuquerque, alleges he was placed in a position with lesser authority after he complained several times to his superiors after learning in 2011 about security breaches during VIP visits.

It also alleges that Irving has been subjected to a hostile work environment and was discriminated against on the basis of his age.

The suit claims in the spring and summer of 2011, Irving became aware that security protocols, with regard to VIP visits to the labs, were not being followed. He made several complaints to his supervisors and the suit alleges those complaints were ignored.

In the suit, Irving said he was then removed from his security oversight role with regard to VIP visits and was told by his supervisor that he would not be considered for promotions because he was considered a “malcontent” and “troublemaker” by the LANL administration.

Irving also complained to his supervisors that one of his female manager peers had been discriminated against by the LANL administration. The suit claims that Irving was then placed into a position that was two levels lower in authority from his former position under the guise of a reorganization of security personnel. Irving now claims he has less authority and a change in some of his duties.

The suit goes on to allege that Irving was placed in a subordinate role to a younger, less experienced male co-worker and that he was isolated and prevented from managing his former projects and personnel. Irving also claims that he was denied participation in some of his prior duties.

The suit said, “As a result of the retaliatory treatment, Plaintiff has suffered lost wages and benefits by being placed in a subordinate role which significantly decreased Plaintiff’s chances to be promoted. The suit also claims that Irving has suffered from emotional distress and he has sought out treatment.

In the suit, Irving requests a trial by jury and requests compensatory damages for his lost wages, mental anguish and humiliation. In addition, Irving is looking for punitive damages and attorney’s fees.

Spokesman Fred DeSousa said it is the lab’s policy not to comment on pending legal matters. Gilpin was not available for comment.