【波士顿双语网2022年11月10日讯】美国国家气象局的美籍华裔科学家陈霞芬（Sherry Chen）的律师今天宣布就两起诉讼达成历史性和解，以追究对她的错误起诉和解雇的责任。该和解是商务部历史上向个人原告支付的最大金额之一。陈女士将在10年内从商务部获得550,000 美元和来自美国政府的价值125万美元的年金。美国华人联合会（UCA）会长薛海培对此表示，这是美国华人历史上在历经了多次最高法院胜诉，前李文和案件的胜诉之后，美国华人维权历史上的又一重大里程碑。
2012 年，商务部的内部安全部门，即调查和威胁管理服务 (ITMS)，开始非法调查陈霞芬女士，这是针对华裔美国人的广泛歧视模式的一部分，导致她被美国政府毫无根据地逮捕和起诉。联邦调查局和司法部。ITMS 去年正式解散，此前参议院的一份报告详细说明了该部门如何成为“流氓、不负责任的警察部队”，在法律之外运作，并“在没有证据表明有不当行为的情况下对各种员工展开了轻率的调查”。
陈霞芬说。“商务部最终要为其不当行为和非法安全部门的行为负责，这对我和许多其他联邦雇员的生活造成了毁灭性影响。没有人应该忍受这种不公正。” 基于 ITMS 对陈霞芬女士的不当调查，司法部指控她向政府调查人员作出虚假陈述，并非法从受限制的政府数据库中下载数据。
政府的毫无根据的指控是陈霞芬女士使用了一个共享的、办公室范围内的密码来访问与她的工作相关的数据库。司法部最终在 2015 年撤销了所有指控，但在此之前，陈霞芬女士在同事面前被公开逮捕，并面临 25 年监禁和 100 万美元的罚款。商务部还解雇了陈霞芬女士多年的工作。在一名联邦行政法官发现她的解雇是非法的，并且陈霞芬女士是“严重不公正”的受害者后，该部门提出上诉并无限期休假。
自 2018 年以来，该上诉一直在审理联邦雇员索赔的机构MSPB（Merit Systems Protection Board） 悬而未决。今天的和解标志着 MSPB诉讼的结束，以及陈女士的律师 Peter Toren 和 Michele Young 于 2019 年针对美国政府提起的另一项联邦诉讼。在今年8月份在华盛顿举行的美国华人大会中，出席会议的赵美心等多位国会议员就陈霞芬等华人科学家所受到的不公正待遇发表讲话，督促相关部门尽快纠正错误，妥善解决这些华人科学家所面临的各种问题。
美国公民自由联盟（ACLU）和 Cooley LLP 去年作为联合律师加入了该诉讼。Tobias, Torchia & Simon 的合伙人 Stephen A. Simon 在 Merit Systems Protection Board 代表陈女士。“小姐。陈的历史性解决方案是她和华裔社区的胜利，”美国公民自由联盟国家安全项目的高级律师阿什利·戈尔斯基说。“这清楚地表明，定性和歧视是不可接受的，政府将被追究责任。”
陈女士的律师的补充陈述如下：“多年来，商务部拒绝为毁掉陈女士的职业生涯承担责任，”Cooley LLP 合伙人约翰·赫曼 (John Hemann) 说。“今天的和解是法治的胜利，有助于确保像 ITMS 这样的流氓单位不会被允许扎根。” “今天，偏见和亚裔美国人的权利受到了巨大的打击，因为政府被迫考虑并对一位获奖科学家的生命造成的毁灭性损害承担责任，”执行合伙人 Michele Young 说。
Michele Young Co., LPA 和 Gregory S. Young Co., LPA 的法律顾问。“经过十年的斗争，从国会到法院再到商业，终于有了正义。陈霞芬不仅为自己而爱国，而且为确保所有亚裔美国人的权利而战。能够加入这个为这一刻日夜奋战的梦之队是一种荣幸。” “小姐。陈女士的磨难已经持续了十多年，”陈女士的律师彼得托伦说。“她在这场斗争中勇敢地坚持了下来，鼓舞了无数经历过类似歧视的人。”
Settlement Delivers Long-Overdue Accountability for Discrimination at Department of Commerce
Washington, DC, Nov. 10, 2022, — Attorneys for Sherry Chen, a Chinese American scientist with the National Weather Service, today announced a historic settlement in two lawsuits seeking accountability for her wrongful prosecution and termination from her job.
In 2012, the Commerce Department’s internal security unit, known as the Investigations and Threat Management Service (ITMS), began unlawfully investigating Ms. Chen as part of a broad pattern of discrimination directed at Chinese Americans, leading to her baseless arrest and prosecution by the FBI and Justice Department. ITMS was officially disbanded last year, following a Senate report detailing how the unit had become a “rogue, unaccountable police force” that operated outside the law and “opened frivolous investigations on a variety of employees without evidence suggesting wrongdoing.”
The settlement is one of the largest paid to an individual plaintiff in Commerce Department history. Ms. Chen will receive $550,000 from the Commerce Department and an annuity from the U.S. government valued at $1.25 million over 10 years. The Commerce Department will host a private meeting between Ms. Chen and a senior National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration official, where she plans to discuss wrongdoing at multiple levels of the agency and the importance of antidiscrimination reforms. The Commerce Department will also provide Ms. Chen with a letter acknowledging her extensive accomplishments during her years of service as a government hydrologist.
“The government’s investigation and prosecution of me was discriminatory and unjustified,” said Sherry Chen. “The Commerce Department is finally being held responsible for its wrongdoing and for the conduct of its illegal security unit, which has had a devastating impact on my life and the lives of so many other federal employees. No one else should have to endure this injustice.”
Based on ITMS’s improper investigation of Ms. Chen, the Justice Department charged her with making false statements to government investigators and unlawfully downloading data from a restricted government database. The government’s unfounded allegations rested on Ms. Chen’s use of a shared, office-wide password to access a database relevant to her work. The Justice Department eventually dropped all charges in 2015, but not before Ms. Chen was publicly arrested in front of her colleagues and faced 25 years in prison and $1 million in fines. The Commerce Department also fired Ms. Chen from the job she had worked at for years. After a federal administrative judge found that her termination was unlawful, and that Ms. Chen had been the victim of a “gross injustice,” the department appealed and placed her on indefinite leave. That appeal has been pending since 2018 before the Merit Systems Protection Board, an agency that hears claims from federal employees.
Today’s settlement marks the end of the Merit Systems Protection Board litigation and a separate federal lawsuit against the U.S. government, filed in 2019 by Ms. Chen’s counsel, Peter Toren and Michele Young. The American Civil Liberties Union and Cooley LLP joined as co-counsel in that suit last year. Stephen A. Simon, partner with Tobias, Torchia & Simon, represents Ms. Chen before the Merit Systems Protection Board.
“Ms. Chen’s historic settlement is a victory for her and for Chinese American communities,” said Ashley Gorski, senior staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. “It makes clear that profiling and discrimination are unacceptable, and that the government will be held to account.”
Additional statements from Ms. Chen’s attorneys are below:
“For years, the Commerce Department refused to take responsibility for destroying Ms. Chen’s career,” said John Hemann, partner at Cooley LLP. “Today’s settlement is a win for the rule of law and helps to ensure that rogue units like ITMS will not be allowed to take root.”
“Today, a great blow was struck against bigotry and for the rights of Asian Americans, as the government was forced to reckon with and be held accountable for the devastating damage to an award-winning scientist’s life,” said Michele Young, Managing Partner at Michele Young Co., LPA and Counsel to Gregory S. Young Co., LPA. “After a ten-year battle, from Congress to the Courts to Commerce, finally, there is justice. Sherry patriotically fought not only for herself, but to secure the rights of all Asian Americans. It was a privilege to be on this dream team that fought day and night for this moment.”
“Ms. Chen’s ordeal has lasted more than ten years,” said Peter Toren, counsel for Ms. Chen. “She bravely persevered in this fight, inspiring countless others who have experienced similar forms of discrimination.”