Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Contractor's Defense was an Astonishing Display of Chutzpay

Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) had a DOE (Department of Energy) contract to provide occupational medical services at DOE's Hanford site. A couple of employees at the clinic were removed from the workplace after reporting numerous failures with a new electronic medical records system to their supervisor and the Department of Energy. These two workers alleged that the new system could put worker health and safety at risk. Their concerns were "brushed aside" by management and the new system was ultimately deployed over their objections.

Ultimately, CSC suspended the two employees without pay. When no one from CSC or DOE were supportive of the two whistleblowers, they filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor. The Administrative Law Judge for the Department of Labor was not at all sympathetic to the employer (i.e. CSC) and ordered them to pay $216 thousand in back pay and compensatory damages, along with interest and attorney fees.

The Judge concluded that the two employees had engaged in protected activity when they met with DOE officials, that CSC knew of the protected activity and that the two employees suffered adverse employment actions. The Judge took CSC to task for their sloppy defense. He wrote:
And, in an astonishing display of chutzpah, Respondent argues "both (employees) were spending a significant amount of time colluding with (a successor contractor) who was attempting to have CSC removed from the contract. ... Whatever this evidentiary hash may be, it is not clear, and it is not convincing."

You can read the full 40 page text of the Judge's decision here.

A copy of a related press release can be found here.

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