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VWZ-0007 - In the Matter of META, Inc.

This determination will consider a Motion to Dismiss filed by Maria Elena Torano Associates, Inc. (META) on October 4, 1996. In its Motion, META seeks the dismissal of the underlying complaint and hearing request filed by C. Lawrence Cornett (Cornett) under the Department of Energy's Contractor Employment Program 10 C.F.R. Part 708. Beginning in 1991, DOE entered into the first of three contracts with META to obtain its services to help DOE produce a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). Mr. Cornett's Part 708 complaint arises from his employment with META on the PEIS and alleges that because of disclosures he made regarding the PEIS's deficiencies in risk assessment methodologies he experienced various forms of reprisal culminating with his termination from employment with META. On March 9, 1994, Cornett filed a complaint pursuant to 10 C.F.R. Part 708. The Office of Contractor Employee Protection (OCEP) conducted an investigation of Cornett's allegations and issued a Report of Investigation and Proposed Order (Report) on April 17, 1996. OCEP, in the Report, concluded that Cornett had made protected disclosures regarding health and safety issues and that it had jurisdiction over Cornett's complaint. Further, OCEP concluded that a preponderance of the evidence supported a finding that Cornett's protected disclosures contributed to his selection by META to be terminated and that META had failed to show by clear and convincing evidence that Cornett would have been terminated absent his protected disclosures.(1)