Judge denies dismissal of lab whistleblower complaint

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — A federal judge has denied a request to dismiss a whistleblower lawsuit that claims an employee of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory was removed from her position after she declined to make changes to an investigative report critical of management.

The Tri-City Herald reports Aleta Busselman sued lab operator Battelle Memorial Institute last year, claiming management exerted pressure to change results of a report examining the theft of $530,000 in government money.

Battelle requested for the case to be dismissed, saying it did not qualify as a whistleblower action under the National Defense Authorization Act.

A report into the retaliation allegation by the Department of Energy Office of Inspector General found that Busselman would have been removed from her position regardless, but the dispute over her report could have contributed.