Thursday, May 11, 2006

Ex-LANL Worker Sues Laboratory

BY MARTIN SALAZAR Journal Staff Writer

A former Los Alamos National Laboratory employee says she was forced to resign from the lab in January because she refused to keep quiet about a work accident that damaged her lungs.

Jaime Tournear, a Ph.D. chemist who worked at LANL from March 15, 2004, until Jan. 17, has filed a lawsuit against the lab alleging retaliation. The suit contends that she was hospitalized and sustained permanent damage after being exposed to dangerous fumes from an acid mixture.

LANL spokesman Kevin Roark declined to respond to the allegations, saying the lab has a longstanding policy of not commenting on pending litigation.

But the lab has filed a response in federal court in which it denies engaging in retaliation and maintains that Tournear was asked to resign or be fired for misconduct.


[...]

Full Story

Comments:
That's correct Kevin. The lab *never* retaliates against its workers.

Right, Todd?
 
This is an incredible story. If true, somebody, probably Kiplinger, ought to be in jail. If the plaintiff prevails, there should be significant punative damages.
 
If past LANL experience is any indicator, Kiplinger is due to receive a nice fat golden parachute soon.
 
I would normally put this in the file marked "Another person looking for an easy out", but after this week and the reasons I have received for not doing anything, I probably will transfer to "What is God's name was the supervisor thinking!!!!"

I pray that employee will recover and that the now confirmed future contractor will deal with the people that refuse to deal with reality.
 
Clearly this is one sided. This is the first volley of a legal suit...from one perspective. Kiplinger is a recently converted Postdoctoral Associate to TSM, highly talented, and is an asset to the laboratory. Please read the Cat B report on this incident. Please notice that there is not one chemist on the Cat B review panel. In addition, the DOE report has errors, in my opinion, that slant significantly the findings. I would also stongly suggest that everyone closely look at both sides of this issue.
 
chardonnay: OK, so post the link to the DOE report.
 
Darhtman, Finknottle and others-

This article is clearly slanted and one-sided. Don't be so hasty to jump to conclusions without ALL the facts.
 
So what if the Lab has a long undistinguished history of covering up problems, abusing employees, engaging in wasteful litigation, then offering golden parachutes to over paid executives to keep their mouths shut? Hey, we're only hearing just one side of the story after all. Well then, what about the Walp and Doran affair? Remember the related congressional hearings? Remember UC officials promising to get rid of those LANL managers that tried to cover up the fraud that Walp and Doran uncovered, then paying those managers off to stay quiet? Remember the head of Audits and Assessments getting over $150K and medical benefits to leave the Lab? What about Nano's recent golden parachute? Oh, but these folks that sue the Lab are just looking for an easy way out. Oh really? Litigation is supposed to be an easy way out? Since when? Is this what the Idiot Nation thinks these days? Take a look at the Lab's bloated litigation budget and think again. Oh but it's a biased media we're dealing with...after all, there's always another side to the story. So where then do we go for the inside scoop? The Lab's Newsbulletin? That's about as "fair and balanced" as Fox News. Maybe we should just have the Lab's Public Affairs Office give us all a daily updated of what's REALLY happening...how about that for fair and balanced? So yea, let's just play like an ostrich and stick it wherever it fits so that we can all just keep pretending all's well in LANL-la-la-land.
 
There is much to say about this whole episode, much to learn from, much to be disgusted about, and much that reflects continuing problems between DOE and LANL. Call me if you'd like to hear more: 665-4462.
 
This story cannot be true. I have it directly from "Director Bob" that LANL/UC no longer retaliates against any employee.

However, I WILL remain annonymous....
 
Here's a question. If the Lab was determined to relatiate against the postdoc, why would they go through the elaborate ruse of placing the supervisor (and only the supervisor) on investigatory leave for several weeks, after the postdoc's hospitalization was first reported?
 
JoeGideon5 said...

"Here's a question. If the Lab was determined to relatiate against the postdoc, why would they go through the elaborate ruse of placing the supervisor (and only the supervisor) on investigatory leave for several weeks, after the postdoc's hospitalization was first reported?"

The answer is simple: These nincompoops can't even retaliate without screwing it up!
 
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