Environment News Service

AmeriScan: February 8, 2000

TVA FINED $110,000 FOR WHISTLEBLOWER DISCRIMINATION

ATLANTA, Georgia, February 8, 2000 (ENS) - The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has proposed a $110,000 civil penalty against the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for discrimination against a former employee, Gary Fiser. In July 1996, TVA, as part of a corporate reorganization, eliminated Fiser's position and took actions to ensure that he was not selected for one of two new positions, NRC alleges. The NRC investigation concluded that TVA took these actions, at least in part, in retaliation for Fiser's involvement in federally protected activities. Fiser's protected actions included identifying chemistry related nuclear safety concerns in 1991 through 1993, and filing a U.S. Department of Labor complaint in 1993 based on those concerns.

The violation is characterized as the agency's second highest level violation. In addition, the NRC staff sent notices of violation to two TVA corporate managers who were directly involved in the employment decisions affecting Fiser. NRC regulations prohibit a licensee from discriminating against any employee for engaging in certain protected activities such as providing a licensee with nuclear safety concerns or testifying at any Federal proceeding related to NRC requirements. TVA has denied that discrimination against Fiser occurred. TVA has 30 days to either pay the fine or file a protest.

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