A former Labor Department employee has accepted an $820,000 payment to end his fight against the agency’s decision to fire him after keeping him on paid leave for two years.
Robert Whitmore was placed on leave by Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for disruptive workplace behavior in July 2007. In the two years before he was fired in 2009, he said he was allowed to do no work, even from home.
“Bob Whitmore paid a real price for trying to protect American workers,” said his lawyer, Robert C. Seldon. “And the Department of Labor ended up paying a much larger price.”
In congressional testimony in 2008, Whitmore said that OSHA allowed companies to underreport injuries to workers. Earlier that year, he made similar allegations in the Charlotte Observer and on a Bill Moyers PBS program.
“As part of the settlement, Whitmore, age 66, agreed not to apply for any Department of Labor position during the next fifteen years,” said a PEER statement, “and if he does ‘he will be deemed automatically ineligible for such position.’ ”
Whitmore’s reacton: “I can’t wait until I’m 81 years old and go back to work,” he said in a telephone interview. “I’m sure the system will be in the same sorry-ass shape that it is today.”