WASHINGTON, July 23 (UPI) -- A U.S. appellate court ruling allows an agent's discrimination case against the FBI to go forward, the National Whistleblowers Center said Monday.
The non-profit Washington group said the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a decision Friday remanding FBI Supervisory Special Agent Bassem Youssef's case back to U.S. District Court for further proceedings.
Youssef accuses the FBI of discriminating against him following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States when he was transferred to a document review position where his skills were underutilized.
In a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2002, Youssef alleges he was discriminated against on the basis of his national origin and religion.
The District Court entered summary judgment against Youssef's discrimination claim in 2008, saying he had not shown he suffered a materially adverse action. The appellate reversed this decision and stated, "reassignment with significantly different responsibilities ... generally indicates an adverse action," the whistleblower group said in a release.
The appellate court sent the case back to the District Court for further examination of the FBI's reason for the transfer.
Youssef, an Egyptian-born American citizen, has been with the FBI since 1988, earning multiple decorations.
Youssef is now the unit chief of the communications analysis unit of the FBI's Counterterrorism Division.
"The FBI actions against Supervisory Special Agent Bassem Youssef undermined the war on terror by allowing prejudices against Arab-Americans to cloud the judgment of America's 'premier' law enforcement agency," Stephen M. Kohn, the whistleblower group's executive director who also is Youssef's attorney.
"The FBI's discriminatory treatment of Agent Youssef and its failure to utilize his exceptional skills is a stain on the history of the FBI. With this court ruling, we hope that the FBI can commence a process to correct its egregious mistakes, and that Mr. Youssef will again be able to perform the work he was trained to do. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 provided no legitimate reason for discrimination and retaliation against law-abiding Arab-Americans."