San Onofre Worker Files Whistleblower Suit

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    San Onofre nuclear power plant near San Clemente.

    A manager at the San Onofre nuclear power plant near San Clemente claims he was fired for reporting safety concerns.

    The disaster in Japan focused the world on the potential danger of nuclear power.

    "It's unfortunate what happened at Fukushima and the lesson to be learned is I'm sure every nuclear power plant would like its employees to speak freely and come forward," said lawyer Maria Severson.

    San Onofre Worker Files Whistleblower Suit

    [DGO] San Onofre Worker Files Whistleblower Suit
    A manager at the San Onofre nuclear power plant near San Clemente claims he was fired for reporting safety concerns.

    Paul Diaz says he was a valued employee during his ten years at San Onofre, but claims talking too much about worker safety cost him his job.

    Diaz says a group of employees asked him for help because their own supervisors dismissed their concerns about worker safety. He says he took the issue to federal inspectors and got fired for it.

    "The exact words were, 'they don't need you to be a super-hero," said Diaz.

    Now he’s suing Southern California Edison for wrongful termination.

    "Because he was terminated for doing what any good employee would do, which is to raise concerns," said Diaz’ lawyer Chris Morris.

    Diaz and his lawyers won't say exactly what the workers were worried about, but indicated that issues are long-hours on the job, worker fatigue and management's alleged refusal to act on those concerns.

    "The environment was to stop the lines of communication, instead of allowing them to go forward," said Severson

    The plant's owners deny those allegations. They say workers and managers are encouraged to voice their safety concerns and are protected from retaliation. They insist that employee safety is their top priority.

    "Whatever you think the standards of safety are at your local car dealer or your local high school, they're 100 or 1,000 times higher at a nuclear plant," said Gil Alexander from Southern California Edison.

    Federal regulators have criticized San Onofre for not being receptive to employee concerns about safety.

    The power plants owners say they've taken steps to improve communication with their workforce.

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