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Former worker sues military contractor for retaliation

A retired naval officer and former worker for Systems Application and Technologies Inc., a military contractor, is suing the company for retaliation. In the California filing, the man claims that his supervisor fired him when he refused to work off the clock for a weekend.

The man says that he was wrongfully discharged shortly after a Nov. 16, 2013, accident that caused $30 million worth of damage to the Chancellorsville, a naval missile cruiser. The mishap put a hole in the ship, caused a fire and injured two sailors. The former worker complained to his boss that the operators of the BQM-74E aerial drones being used in practice drills were not entirely qualified and trained. He argued that the operators were a threat to other people's safety, health and welfare, but the supervisor did nothing.

Shortly after the incident, the former employee says his boss told him to work during the weekend without logging his hours. When the man pointed out that doing so was illegal, the supervisor fired him, and the company has not paid him all of the money he is owed. The man is seeking to recover general, exemplary and special consequential damages for wrongful termination. He also seeks waiting time penalties against the company.

Under various statutes, workers are protected against retaliation for complaining to employers about violations of federal law. Whistle-blowers cannot be fired, transferred or punished for doing so under such laws. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against could file complaints and seek recoverable damages. If the workers' lawsuits are successful, they could be awarded compensation to recover back pay and fees.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, 'Whistleblower Protections"

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Navy Contractor Accused of Retaliatory Firing", Dan McCue, August 22, 2014

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Navy Contractor Accused of Retaliatory Firing", Dan McCue, August 22, 2014

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