Environmental and Nuclear
Between 1972 and 1980, Congress passed seven whistleblower protection bills: six environmental and one nuclear. These laws—amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Energy Reorganization Act (ERA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund), the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), the Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA. otherwise known as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, or RCRA), and the Water Pollution Control Act (WPCA)—protect employees who report violations of environmental or nuclear safety regulations to public authorities.1
The categories of employees protected under the whistleblower laws cover the entire panorama of the American workforce. For example, a painter who cooperated with a state investigation into toxic dumping, a teacher who contacted a state Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) office concerning potential asbestos in the school building, a doctor who complained to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) about improper radiation therapy, an inspector who exposed welding deficiencies at a nuclear construction site, and an employee who told a newspaper reporter about the discharge of sludge into the Cedar Rapids were all covered under these laws.
An employee who is terminated, harassed, blacklisted, or in any way discriminated against in retaliation for blowing the whistle on violations of environmental or nuclear safety laws can file a simple complaint within the Department of Labor (DOL)2 and, if successful, obtain reinstatement, back pay with interest, compensatory damages, damages for pain and