State ombudsman orders protection of atomic agency whistleblower

The IAEC is rarely mentioned in any public forum according to Israel's policy of what foreign reports have called "nuclear ambiguity" as to its nuclear weapons status.

October 6, 2014 18:18
1 minute read.

Dimona nuclear reactor. (photo credit: REUTERS)

State Comptroller Joseph Shapira on Monday issued an order to protect an anonymous employee of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission from retaliation for being a whistle-blower on corruption within the commission.

Issuing such orders to protect whistle- blowers on public corruption has been one of Shapira’s signature issues during his term as comptroller, but this is the first time he issued such an order in such a sensitive area as the IAEC.

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The IAEC is rarely mentioned in any public forum according to the country’s policy of what foreign reports have called “nuclear ambiguity” as to its nuclear weapons status.

Shapira’s announcement went to great lengths to emphasize that he issued the order only after performing a serious initial check regarding the employee’s corruption claims and his claims of being harassed in the office for having reported the alleged corruption.

The IAEC did not respond for contact by press time.

The employee was essentially excommunicated in an aggressive manner by his work colleagues with none of the responsible supervisors stepping in to correct the situation.

Further, the employee’s supervisors’ silence in the face of his harassment was interpreted by his colleagues as approval, and there is evidence that the supervisors may have even taken part in aspects of the harassment.

Shapira clarified that the order meant that not only was any express harassment of the employee forbidden, but that there was a formal obligation on the IAEC to ensure that the employee’s overall work environment be free from even unofficial harassment.

Next, the comptroller imposed the IAEC to file a written report every three months on the status of its actions in correcting the harassment situation.

In addition, Shapira said that in light of the employee’s suffering to date, the employee should be compensated by the IAEC with either various work perks, a special promotion or by some other method.

Shapira said that the order was a “powerful manifestation” of his policy of broadening protection of whistle- blowers against public corruption.

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