Firing of Davis-Besse worker upheld
For the second time in a month, the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court ruling against an employee of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station who claimed he was wrongfully discharged and defamed by FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co., which operates the power plant.
Timothy Camick, a security supervisor at the plant, had appealed a decision by the Ottawa County Common Pleas Court granting summary judgment to FirstEnergy. In September, the appeals court ruled in favor of the company in a case brought by Mark Whitaker, also a security supervisor.
Camick and Whitaker were fired after a review by the company of their and several other supervisors’ timecards and electronic badge swiping data and reportedly found discrepancies in hours worked and what was reported on time cards.
Camick in May 2010, filed a lawsuit alleging his discharge violated the Ohio Whistleblower Act and was in retaliation for security reports he had submitted to the company in 2004 and for statements he made to a company trainer.
He alleged he was defamed by the company after it listed his name in a national database the nuclear industry maintains that let other nuclear plants know Camick had been denied unescorted access in the Davis-Besse plant.
“Appellant, like Whitaker, fails to prevail on the defamation claim because he failed to point out anything entered into the national access database or otherwise published by any defendant was untrue. Truth is an absolute defense to a claim of defamation,” the appeals court wrote.
Camick claimed his listing on the database resulted in him being denied employment at other nuclear facilities.
According to court records, a resident inspector at the plant for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission received an anonymous letter in 2007 alleging irregularities in the reporting of work hours by security supervisors. The letter prompted an investigation in which time cards of eight security supervisors were compared to electronic entry records into and out of a protected area of the plant during a six-month period.
Discrepancies were found in records of five of the eight with Whitaker having an excess of 70 hours and Camick 39 hours. The others had fewer than 19 hours in overages, which FENOC management attributed to inaccurate record keeping.