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Whistleblower Law Blog

Nuclear Whistleblower Files ERA Lawsuit against Energy Northwest

Dave Sanders, former assistant maintenance manager for the Energy Northwest Columbia Generating Station, filed suit on October 25, 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington under the whistleblower provision of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1978 (ERA).  Sanders alleges that Energy Northwest retaliated against him for questioning the nuclear power plant’s security clearance procedures and handling of security violations.

In early 2011, Sanders asked Security Force Supervisor Bruce Pease to increase security clearance standards for temporary employees being hired for maintenance outages. When Pease refused, Sanders worked through his own chain of command in order to obtain permission.  Pease allegedly retaliated against Sanders by accusing him of wrongfully authorizing a per diem for his daughter’s boyfriend Ricky Hayes, who Sanders had recommended for a temporary position.  Hayes received a per diem because he claimed to be a South Carolina resident, but he then moved to a local residence.   Energy Northwest revoked Sanders’s credentials and terminated his employment two weeks later.

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