On October 22, 2020, the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) denied the complaint filed by Mr. Erik DeBenedictis against National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia,  LLC (NTESS), under the Department of Energy's (DOE) Contractor Employee Protection Program, 10 C.F.R. Part 708. In his complaint, Mr. DeBenedictis alleged that he made a protected disclosure of abuse of authority by disclosing, to an NTESS vice president, that (1) management improperly referred him to NTESS's Security Incident Management Program ( SIMP) because of an allegation that he had export-controlled documents on his home computer and (2) the referral was an attempt to intimidate him or to obtain ownership of intellectual property as opposed to being based on a legitimate security concern. The Administrative Judge found that Mr. DeBenedictis presented insufficient evidence to support his assertion that he made protected disclosures because he failed to prove that he reasonably believed NTESS acted arbitrarily or capriciously when it referred him to SIMP, and he failed to demonstrate that he reasonably believed the SIMP referral adversely affected    his rights or resulted in personal gain or advantage to another. Accordingly, the Administrative Judge found that Mr. DeBenedictis's failure to prove by a preponderance that he made a protected disclosure precluded a finding that NTESS had retaliated against him.

Accordingly, the Administrative Judge denied the complaint. OHA Case No. WBH-20- 0003 (James P. Thompson III).