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LANL security manager claims retaliation

SANTA FE, N.M. — A Los Alamos National Laboratory employee is suing the lab in federal court, alleging that he was subject to retaliation and discrimination after he complained to superiors about breaches in security protocols during VIP visits.

Michael Irving, described in the lawsuit as a security program leader/manager for LANL’s director’s office, says he was removed from his security oversight role with regard to VIP visits and placed in a position two levels lower in authority than his previous job.

According to the lawsuit, Irving became aware during the spring and summer of 2011 that security protocols at LANL were not being followed during VIP visits to the lab and made several complaints to his superiors about it.

The suit alleges that he was labeled as a “malcontent” and “troublemaker” by his superior, who told him he would not be considered for promotion.

Irving, who began working at LANL in 1997, was later reassigned to a position with less authority and a change in duties “under the guise of a reorganization of security personnel at LANL.”

He has since been “isolated and prevented from managing his former projects and personnel” and “denied participating in some of his prior duties.”

The suit says Irving was made subordinate to someone younger and with less experience, and that his opportunities for advancement are now limited.

The lawsuit states that Irving had a legal right to complain about violations in security protocols with regard to the safety of nuclear weapon materials and report discriminatory conduct in the workplace. Instead, the lawsuit alleges that he has suffered lost wages and benefits, significantly decreased his chances to be promoted and has undergone treatment for emotional distress as a result of retaliatory actions.

It also alleges that Irving has been subjected to a hostile work environment and was discriminated against on the basis of his age in violation of the New Mexico Human Rights Act.

The lawsuit was filed in Albuquerque federal court Wednesday by attorney Donald Gilpin, who did not return a phone message from the Journal on Monday. Comment was also unavailable from LANL’s public information office.

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