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Inspection Report: INS-L-12-03

May 21, 2012

Alleged Health and Wellness Benefit Irregularities by a Department Contractor

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), owned and operated by the U.S. Department Energy (Department), supports the Department’s mission to advance the national, economic and energy security of the United States.  NETL has contracted with Ahtna Facility Services, Inc. (Ahtna) to provide site security services for NETL's Morgantown, West Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Albany, Oregon, locations. 

The Office of Inspector General received allegations concerning irregularities with health and wellness fringe benefits (fringe benefits) and retaliatory practices by Ahtna.  Specifically, it was alleged that Ahtna: (1) did not provide a specific group of employees at the Albany site an option to receive cash in lieu of fringe benefits; (2) established individual 401(k) accounts without the employee's consent and withheld information concerning employee fringe benefits contributions of approximately $10,000; and (3) terminated an Ahtna employee for complaining about issues related to fringe benefits administration.  We initiated an inspection to review the facts and circumstances surrounding these allegations.

While we generally substantiated allegations one and two, we determined that in most instances Ahtna's actions were not contrary to contractual and regulatory requirements.  Regarding the third allegation, the Office of Inspector General's Hotline referred the employee to the Department's local Employee Concerns Program.  Based on the results of our review, we made no recommendations to management.

Topic: Human Resources