Jay M. Dade


In seeking to encourage nuclear industry employees to report safety concerns, Section 210 of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 (ERA) acts to protect such "whistle-blowers" in the event they are terminated or discriminated against because of their whistle-blowing activities.2 When an employee and an employer negotiate a Section 210 "whistle-blower" complaint and subsequently submit the settlement for approval, the Secretary of Labor faces certain encumbrances when reviewing the agreement . This limitation on review arises when certain provisions may be in violation of public policy.4 In Macktal v. Secretary of Labor, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit compared the Secretary's Section 210 powers to those held by any judge considering civil suit settlements and held that the Secretary may either accept the entire negotiated settlement, reject it, or modify the settlement subject to input from the original parties.5 This Note compares the Section 210 powers of the Secretary to review whistle-blower settlements with similar powers found in the judiciary. This Note also examines the lack of guidance other circuits offer when deciding similar cases in light of a silent United States Supreme Court.



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