United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 84-08: 10 CFR 50.7, Employee Protection

                                                           SSINS No.:  6835 
                                                           IN 84-08        

                               UNITED STATES 
                       NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 
                    OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT 
                           WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555 
                                     
                             February 14, 1984 

Information Notice No. 84-08:   10 CFR 50.7, "EMPLOYEE PROTECTION" 

Addressees: 

All nuclear power reactor facilities holding an operating license (OL) of 
construction permit (CP); nuclear steam system suppliers; and architect-
engineers. 

Purpose: 

This information notice calls attention to 10 CFR 50.7, which prohibits 
discrimination against an employee for engaging in certain protected 
activities, such as providing the Commission information about possible 
violations of requirements imposed by the Atomic Energy Act or the Energy 
Reorganization Act. 

Description of Circumstances: 

In recent months the Department of Labor (DOL) has received a number of 
discrimination complaints. Some might have resulted because not all 
employers are aware of their responsibilities under 10 CFR 50.7. 

In 1978, The Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 was amended to include 
Section 210, "Employee Protection." This section was enacted into law 
because of a strong feeling in Congress that employees of the Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensees and applicants and of their 
contractors and subcontractors should be protected from discharge or other 
acts of discrimination for contacting the NRC. In 1982, the NRC amended its 
regulations (10 CFR Parts 19, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 72, and 150) to implement 
Section 210; 10 CFR 50.7 implements it for nuclear reactors. 

Section 50.7 prohibits employers from discharging or otherwise 
discriminating against any employee who contacts or seeks to contact the 
NRC, and indicates that DOL may award an employee reinstatement, back pay 
and compensatory damages if discrimination has occurred. Any employee who 
believes discrimination has occurred may file a complaint with DOL but must 
do so within thirty (30) days of the date the employee became aware of the 
discrimination. In a memorandum of understanding dated October 25, 1982, NRC
agreed to cooperate fully with DOL in investigating discrimination 
complaints (47 FR 54585). In addition, the NRC may take enforcement action 
for violation of Section 50.7. 



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                                                        February 14, 1984  
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There can be no question that public health and safety require that 
employees be free to raise safety issues to licensee management and to the 
NRC. NRC has noticed a recent increase in the number of Section 210 
complaints, some of which may have been preventable. Protected activities 
such as providing information to the NRC often occur when employers do not 
have an effective program for soliciting and resolving safety concerns of 
employees. Additionally, safety concerns have been taken to the NRC because 
the concerned employee was unaware that an issue raised previously with the 
employer had been resolved. If problems are openly identified and resolved 
before an employee feels compelled to contact the NRC, fewer safety concerns
will become allegations to the NRC and there should be fewer instances of 
real or perceived discrimination. 

We urge you to review your activities to ensure that (1) a mechanism exists 
for employees to raise safety issues free from discrimination and (2) 
employees are notified about this mechanism. Your contractors also should be
aware of this matter. 

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact the Regional
Administrator of the appropriate NRC Regional Office, or this office. 



                                   Edward L. Jordan, Director 
                                   Division of Emergency Preparedness 
                                     and Engineering Response 
                                   Office of Inspection and Enforcement 

Technical Contact:  W. L. Fisher, IE 
                    (301) 492-8073 

Attachment: 
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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, November 12, 2013