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Report | Dec. 13, 2022

Whistleblower Reprisal Investigation: Systems & Technology Research, LLC Woburn, Massachusetts (DODIG-2023-037)

Administrative Investigations

Publicly Released: December 15, 2022

Executive Summary

We conducted this investigation in response to a reprisal complaint alleging that Systems & Technology Research, LLC (STR), Woburn, Massachusetts, moved the Complainant’s office location and discharged him in reprisal for making protected disclosures concerning security violations.

Security Officer, STR (the Complainant), made eight protected disclosures from October 2019 through November 11, 2020, comprising:

  • two to the Vice President of Business Operations,
  • one to the Senior Vice President of Operations,
  • one to the Director of Security,
  • one to the DoD Hotline,
  • one to the Security Manager,
  • one to an industrial security representative from the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA), and
  • one to both the Senior Vice President and Deputy Vice President of Business Operations; the latter was also the Acting Human Resources (HR) Lead.

The company had direct knowledge of seven of the disclosures before relocating the Complainant’s office. The company took steps to discharge the Complainant before the eighth disclosure; however, it did not carry out the discharge until after the eighth disclosure.

Based on knowledge and timing, the Complainant’s protected disclosures were a contributing factor in STR’s decision to relocate the Complainant’s office and discharge him. Lacking clear and convincing evidence establishing that STR would have relocated the Complainant’s office and discharged him absent his protected disclosures, we determined that STR took those actions in reprisal for the Complainant’s protected disclosures.

We provided STR the opportunity to comment on the preliminary report of investigation through a tentative conclusions letter we sent to STR on September 21, 2022. We received STR’s response on October 5, 2022. STR disagreed with our conclusions and requested that we revise our report and conclusion to be consistent with its response. After carefully considering the response, we amended various sections of the report but did not alter our original conclusion.

We recommend that the Secretary of the Navy direct Navy officials to:

  • consider appropriate action against STR for reprising against the Complainant; and
  • order STR to award the Complainant compensatory damages (including back pay), employment benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment that the Complainant would have received had he not been reprised against.