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Nuclear power plant worker claims wrongful termination

A 53-year-old former worker at a St. Lucie, Florida, nuclear power plant has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Florida Power & Light Company, which operates the facility. He claims that he took action to protect the safety of the plant and public but was fired in retaliation for that action. In his lawsuit, he also asserts claims for defamation (libel), as well as fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The incident at issue occurred on Nov. 21, 2009. On that date, he says, he could see that the nuclear power plant’s Unit 2 nuclear reactor had a leak in one of its valves. Because of this, in his position as operations manager, he refused to start that unit up, allegedly costing the company $6 million to shut down the reactor to address the safety issue from coolant leaking from the valve.

He says that he then reported the problem to a company vice president who acted in a shocking fashion by ordering him to immediately start the nuclear reactor back up without addressing the safety issue. He refused to obey this order, according to the complaint, and following that, supervisory personnel targeted him for retaliation. Among other actions, they allegedly wrote performance reviews of him which were purposefully lower than justified, in order to target him for elimination. Ultimately, he was fired, although that did not happen until June 25 of 2012.

The employer has denied the fired worker’s claims, and asserts that both unit 1 and unit 2 at the nuclear plant were running at 100 percent of anticipated power on the date in question. It also claims that it would never do anything that could compromise the safety of the facility. The lawsuit asks for money damages of $15,000.

Source: The Palm Beach HostFormer Florida Power & Light Co. nuclear plant employee files lawsuit,” Susan Salisbury, Sept. 19, 2012