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Circuit Upholds Firing|of Navy Reserve Officer

(CN) - A Department of Energy contractor had the right to fire a Navy Reserve officer accused of spending too much company time on military work, the 6th Circuit ruled.

BWXT Y-12, the managing and operating contractor for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), fired Rudolph Escher, Jr. in September 2005, after it received an anonymous complaint about his Navy work.

Escher claimed that he had been fired in retaliation for complaining about changes to the company's policy on military leave pay.

But his argument failed to persuade the district court judge or the federal appeals court in Cincinnati.

"[T]he evidence shows that Escher received and sent out Navy-related correspondence throughout the business day and that frequently it was both extensive and amounting to multiple emails per day," Circuit Judge David McKeague wrote.

The record also suggests that the supervisor who fired Escher "had no knowledge of Escher's complaints about military leave," the judge added.

The three-judge panel affirmed dismissal of Escher's wrongful termination and retaliation claims, saying Escher was fired for violating BWXT's computer policy, and not in retaliation for his complaints.

Escher formerly worked at the NNSA's security complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the Department of Energy.

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