Settlement Announced in Capitol Tunnel Workers Case

KMB and the Government Accountability Project announce a settlement in the workers' whistleblower retaliation case filed by ten U.S. Capitol Tunnel Shop workers against the Architect of the Capitol. The out-of-court settlement resolves the complaint that the workers filed with the Congressional Office of Compliance in October 2006, charged the Architect with harassing and threatening them after they alerted Congress in March 2006 to the life-threatening levels of asbestos and other hazards they faced while working in the utility tunnels that run beneath Capitol Hill.

                     See also:
                     Capitol Steamfitters Settle Case (The New York Times article)

Workers Exposed to Asbestos Beneath Capitol Hill Achieve Settlement of Whistleblower Claims Against Architect of Capitol

Contact:
David J. Marshall
Katz, Marshall & Banks LLP
or
Dylan Blaylock
Communications Dir. Government Accountability Project
Tel. 202-408-0034 ext. 137

Washington, D.C. - Attorneys for ten U.S. Capitol Tunnel Shop workers have announced a settlement in the workers' whistleblower retaliation case against the Architect of the Capitol, which is the U.S. Congressional agency that employed them. The out-of-court settlement, which retired U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Sporkin helped broker through mediation, resolves the complaint that the workers filed against the Architect with the Congressional Office of Compliance in October 2006. In that complaint, the workers charged the Architect with harassing and threatening them after they alerted Congress in March 2006 to the life-threatening levels of asbestos and other hazards they faced while working in the utility tunnels that run beneath Capitol Hill.

"It took a lot of courage for these workers to blow the whistle on the hazards in the tunnels," said attorney David J. Marshall of Katz, Marshall & Banks LLP, which represented the workers along with the Government Accountability Project (GAP). "They complained about hazardous working conditions at an agency of the U.S. Congress, stood strong for over a year in pursuing their complaint, and achieved a great outcome." Marshall described the settlement as "a big victory for federal workers, and in particular for workers in the Legislative Branch, who have historically had little protection when blowing the whistle on unsafe working conditions."

The terms of the settlement are confidential, but the agreement covers only the workers' whistleblower claims, and does not address the serious physical injuries they suffered from years of exposure to asbestos and other toxins. Medical tests showed that nine out of ten of the workers had symptoms of occupational diseases, including asbestos-related diseases. The tunnel workers intend to ask Congress to enact special legislation to compensate them for these injuries and to ensure that they and their families receive the medical monitoring necessary to minimize the effects of asbestos exposure.