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VWA-0034 - In the Matter of Frank E. Isbill

This Decision concerns a whistleblower complaint filed by Frank E. Isbill (the complainant), a former employee of NCI Communications, Inc. (the contractor) under the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Contractor Employee Protection Program, 10 C.F.R. Part 708. For almost two years, the complainant was employed by the contractor at DOE’s Oak Ridge, Tennessee site (Oak Ridge). The complainant alleges that while employed by the contractor, he made protected disclosures concerning a potential abuse of authority by a DOE employee whose wife worked for a rival contractor.(1) The complainant contends that his subsequent demotion and lay off were retaliatory acts, but the contractor disagrees. (2) In this Decision, I find that the complainant made protected disclosures and that these contributed to the lay off and the demotion. Although I find that the complainant would have been laid off despite his disclosures, I also find that the contractor failed to prove clearly and convincingly that it would have demoted him even had he not made disclosures. I therefore find that the complainant prevailed on that issue and order appropriate relief accordingly.