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VWA-0031 - In the Matter of Barbara Nabb

This Decision involves a complaint filed by Mrs. Barbara Nabb under the Department of Energy (DOE) Contractor Employee Protection Program, 10 C.F.R. Part 708. In her complaint, Mrs. Nabb contends that reprisals were taken against her after she made certain disclosures concerning possible health and safety violations and mismanagement at the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site (Rocky Flats). These reprisals allegedly were taken by EG&G Rocky Flats, Inc. (EG&G) and by Kaiser-Hill Company, LLC (Kaiser Hill). EG&G was the managing and operating contractor of Rocky Flats beginning in December 1989. On April 4, 1995, Kaiser-Hill was awarded a contract to succeed EG&G as managing and integration contractor at Rocky Flats. Kaiser-Hill assumed EG&G’s management responsibilities at Rocky Flats on July 1, 1995. From January 1990 until October 1993, Mrs. Nabb held the position of Machinist. In October 1993, her job title was changed to Production Specialist. In November 1994, as a result of a Reduction in Force, she chose to “bump” into the position of Radiological Control Technician or RCT. On September 30, 1994, Mrs. Nabb provided information regarding her Part 708 complaint pursuant to the DOE Rocky Flats Field Office’s Employee Concerns Manager. She completed the filing of her Part 708 complaint with a signed affirmation on January 12, 1995. Acting on Mrs. Nabb’s complaint, the DOE’s Office of the Inspector General investigated this matter and on January 20, 1999, the Inspector General’s Office of Inspections issued its findings in a Report of Inquiry and Recommendations (the RIR). The RIR found that Mrs. Nabb made several disclosures that constitute protected disclosures pursuant to Part 708. However, with respect to the alleged reprisals, the RIR found that Mrs. Nabb has failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the alleged reprisals involving temporary reassignments were the result of her protected activity. The RIR also found with respect to management’s decision to terminate Mrs. Nabb’s training for the position of Radiological Control Technician (RCT), that there is clear and convincing evidence that management’s decision was not retaliatory pursuant to Part 708. As a result of these findings, the RIR recommends that Mrs. Nabb’s request for relief be denied. In response to the Office of Inspections’ RIR, Mrs. Nabb requested a hearing before the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) under 10 C.F.R. § 708.9(a) concerning the findings of the RIR and additional allegations of reprisals. Both EG&G and Kaiser Hill also participated fully as parties in the OHA proceeding. The hearing in this case was held on April 28 and 29, 1999 at Rocky Flats. After consideration of the RIR, the briefs of the parties, the testimony given at the hearing, and the parties’ post-hearing submissions, I find that EG&G and Kaiser Hill took acts of reprisal against Mrs. Nabb prohibited under 10 C.F.R. § 708.5, and that Mrs. Nabb is entitled to remedial action from these contractors.