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DOL Decides in Favor of Federal Agency Whistleblower

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In Dixon v. U.S. Dep’t of the Interior., the Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board (ARB) held that Earle Dixon, a federal employee of the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) engaged in protected activity under the whistleblower provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) when he raised concerns about the contamination of a Nevada copper mine and told his supervisors that the intergovernmental effort to clean up the mine was non-compliant with CERCLA regulations. In affirming the ALJ’s decision, the ARB concluded that the BLM failed to prove that Dixon was terminated for poor performance or other reasons independent of his protected activity and was therefore liable for whistleblower retaliation.  The ARB also affirmed the ALJ’s decision awarding Dixon back pay and compensatory damages.

 

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