Second Senior Official Blows Whistle on Washington Nuclear Site
November 15, 2011 - 1 Comment
In a development in a case we blogged about last week, a second official at the vitrification plant for the nuclear site in Hanford, WA, has filed a complaint with the Department of Labor, reports Tacoma, Washington’s The News Tribune. Donna Busche, the plant’s manager of environmental and nuclear safety, filed a complaint against her employer, URS Corp., and its parent company, Bechtel National, claiming that she was discriminated and retaliated against for blowing the whistle against her employer.
Busche alleges that URS acted in various ways to discredit her concerns related to the design of the vitrification plant, and that those actions were in retaliation for the testimony she gave to the Defense Nuclear Faciliaties Safety Board (“DNFSB”) about a year ago. According to the News Tribune, Busche alleges that following that meeting, she was asked by multiple superiors if she could “provide a different answer” to questions she answered during the meeting. In her complaint, Busche states that she understood those questions “to imply that she should recant her earlier testimony.”
Busche also alleges various other incidences of retaliatory treatment. She alleges that managers “sought ways to retaliate and circumvent her efficiency” when she attempted to ensure that the company had adequate documentation to support its assertions regarding environmental and nuclear safety. She further alleges that a supervisor told her to stop putting technical and safety issues in writing to avoid creating a record, and that her supervisors isolated her and prevented from attending meetings.
Busche’s complaint should help to bolster the credibility of Mr. Tamosaitis’s claims, which we wrote about on Thursday. In tandem, the two claims show a pattern of retaliation by URS Corp. against conscientious employees who are willing to step forward about serious safety problems at this troubled nuclear site. We look forward to watching these cases develop over the coming months.