A former Department of Labor (DOL) employee has received an $820,000 wrongful termination settlement from the federal agency after the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a finding by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) that his termination was not due to retaliation for his whistleblower activities.

The claimant, Robert Whitmore, had worked for the DOL since 1972. In 2005, he began leaking information to the media that the DOL was under-reporting work-related injuries and illnesses.  He even testified before Congress on the matter, accusing senior Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials of "intentionally ignoring fraudulent data submitted by employers."

After the Washington Post published an article on his allegations in 2009, Whitmore was terminated for "Disruptive and Intimating Behavior, Conduct Unbecoming a Supervisor, and Inappropriate Conduct int he Workplace." This followed, as well, a 2007 "spitting match" Whitmore had had with his supervisor.

The MSPB ruled after the termination that Whitmore "would have been removed regardless of his whistleblowing disclosures," but the Appeals Court disagreed and ordered a rehearing into the matter. The two sides then settled for $820,000.