Hanford contractor ordered to reinstate fired whistleblower

Hanford contractor ordered to reinstate fired whistleblower
FILE - In this March 6, 2013 file photo, a warning sign is shown attached to a fence at the 'C' Tank Farm at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, near Richland, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
SEATTLE (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered a Hanford Nuclear Reservation contractor to reinstate a worker who was fired for voicing concerns about nuclear and environmental safety.

The department said Wednesday it ordered Richland-based Washington River Protection Solutions to also pay $220,000 in back wages and other expenses.

The labor department says the contractor violated federal whistleblower provisions. After the firing, the department says the contractor refused to rehire the environmentalist specialist despite adequate qualifications and previous satisfactory performance reviews.

A statement from Washington River Protection Solutions says the employee was one of 200 workers laid off in 2011 and that the worker's concerns over safety of environmental questions were not a factor in her termination. The company says it is reviewing the Labor department's order.

The labor department did not name the employee, citing whistleblower policy.