PR--Jan. 28, 1998 Federal Judge Orders Incinerator Contractor to Cease Retaliation against Whistleblowers


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for immediate release: Thursday, January 28, 1998


A U.S. Department of Labor judge on Monday handed down judgment against Utah chemical weapons incinerator contractor EG&G Defense Materials, Inc. in yet another whistleblower lawsuit. Ms. Trina Allen, former Operations Hazardous Waste Coordinator at the Tooele Chemical Demilitarization Facility (TOCDF) charged that she was demoted after raising serious safety and regulatory concerns regarding the handling and disposal of hazardous waste at the plant. Her most serious allegations involved the unpermitted burning of Lewisite, and releasing toxic wastes directly into the environment.

Judge Samuel Smith ordered that EG&G 1) "cease and desist from retaliating against" Allen; 2) reinstate Allen to her former position under the terms and conditions she had before she was demoted; and, 3) award her back pay from July 1, 1997. In addition, EG&G was ordered to cease and desist from retaliating against other employees who may be involved in the Department of Labor case.

This is not the first time the Department of Labor (DOL) has ruled against EG&G in a whistleblower case at TOCDF. In September 1994, Steve Jones, former chief Safety Officer at the plant was fired after raising thousands of serious safety concerns. A DOL judge ruled in August 1997 that EG&G must restore Jones to his job and pay him a half million dollars, or pay him one million dollars.

Chip Ward, with the organization West Desert HEAL, lives downwind from the Tooele incinerator and has long been concerned with health and safety issues in and around the plant. Ward said, "The Army and their contractors have a pattern of dealing with safety and compliance issues by firing the people who raise them. Ms. Allen's victory, following that of Steve Jones, is good news for incinerator workers who are trying to do their jobs conscientiously, despite poor leadership and harassment by EG&G. We expect the parade of whistleblowers to continue."

Environmental attorney Mick Harrison, Allen's legal counsel, said "Employees at the Tooele incinerator should be heartened by this decision. The DOL has made it clear that they won't tolerate any more employee retaliation."

Copies of the Judge's ruling are available upon request.


for further information:
Elizabeth Crowe (606) 986-7565
Mick Harrison (717) 398-7383


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