Whistleblowers in the nuclear power and nuclear weapons industries are specifically protected under section 211 of the Energy Reorganization Act.
Private sector employees and federal employees working for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or the Department of Energy.
Any employee who believes he or she has been discriminated against in retaliation for "blowing the whistle" on a nuclear safety problem.
Almost any adverse change to the whistleblower's terms and conditions of employment is prohibited. This includes a wide range of actions from reprimands to terminations and blacklisting.
These laws are administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Complaints must be filed in writing and should be filed with the local OSHA Office of the DOL and/or mailed to: U.S. Department of Labor Office of the Assistant Secretary Occupational Safety and Health Administration - Room: S2315 200 Constitution Avenue Washington, D.C. 20210 (202) 693-2000
A nuclear industry employee filing a complaint under the Energy Reorganization Act must file within 180 days.
Many states have enacted laws to protect whistleblowers. Most of these laws have a longer statue of limitations and other benefits unavailable under federal law. If an employee is reporting fraud by a government contractor, these concerns may be covered under the False Claims Act. To report these concerns, please fill out our confidential Attorney Referral / Report Fraud Now form.
The Atomic Energy Act was recently amended to permit employees to file claims in federal court if the DOL fails to issue its final decision within one year.
- Back pay with interest
- A complete “make whole” remedy (including restoration of seniority/sick leave, etc.)
- Compensatory damages (for emotional distress and loss of professional reputation)
- Attorneys’ fees and costs
- “Affirmative Relief” (such as requiring a letter of apology and formal posting of the decision)
- Exemplary damages are available under the Safe Drinking Water Act and Toxic Substances Control Act. To view a major decision on damages in a nuclear case, see Hobby v. Georgia Power Co.