Employee's Formal Request for Counseling

David Marshall and co-counsel Joanne Royce, General Counsel for the Government Accountability Project (www.whistleblower.org), file a complaint with the Office of Compliance on behalf of ten workers who maintain utility tunnels beneath Capitol Hill. The workers allege that the Architect of the Capitol, the Legislative Branch agency that employs them, knowingly exposed them to dangerous levels of asbestos and other pathogens for years, and retaliated against them for making these and other life-threatening conditions known to Congress and the public.

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See the Medical Testing for U.S. Capitol Tunnel Shop Employees article
The workers also demand that the Architect or Congress pay for medical diagnostic testing for asbestos-related and other occupational diseases, for which the workers intend to pursue compensation.

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The Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) provides that a covered employee who alleges a violation of the Act can initiate proceedings to resolve the allegations by filing a formal request for counseling with the Office of Compliance no later than 180 days after the date of the alleged violation(s). The Office will provide the employee with information about the employee's rights and responsibilities and the procedures of the Office, discuss the employee's concerns, get information from the employee regarding the alleged violation, and assist the employee in achieving a resolution of the matter, if possible.

I. Contact Information

Tunnel Shop Workers: John Thayer, (Supervisor) Tom Baker Frank Binns, Martin Blanchet Edward Hill Rick, Leonard Charles Morris Christian, Raley Scott Smith Tim Taylor

II. Describe the conduct complained of, including date(s) and person(s) involved: (use additional pages if necessary)


Please be advised of the importance of confidentiality in this process. Section 416 of the Act provides that all counseling shall be strictly confidential. However, you and the Office of Compliance may agree to notify the employing office of your allegations during counseling by signing an agreement waiving confidentiality for that purpose.

III. Signature of employee or representative:(Representatives must be designated by employee on a separate form, or by letter indicating designation)

Attachment to Request for Counseling

II. Conduct complained of by John Thayer, Tom Baker, Frank Binns, Martin Blanchet, Edward Hill, Rick Leonard, Charles Morris, Christian Raley, Scott Smith and Tim Taylor ("Tunnel Shop employees").

The Architect of the Capitol ("AoC") has retaliated against the Tunnel Shop employees in violation of Section 207 (a) of the Congressional Accountability Act, 2 U.S.C. §1317 ("CAA"), for opposing unsafe conditions in their workplace and for assisting in official investigations of AoC's failure to comply with the provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, as applied to the AoC by the CAA.

On March 24, 2006, the Tunnel Shop employees wrote a letter to Senators Wayne Allard, Richard Durbin and Barbara Mikulski, and Rep. Steny Hoyer, setting forth their concerns about worker safety in the tunnels, in particular about AoC's deliberate indifference in exposing them to unsafe levels of asbestos and other toxins, falling concrete, high temperatures and other hazards. They have followed up with additional letters to, and meetings with, these and other members of Congress and their staffs, and have participated in investigations by the Office of Compliance and the Government Accountability Office. On numerous occasions since March 2006, the Tunnel Shop employees have also reported their concerns directly to AoC, reiterating concerns that they have been raising with management for some years.

In response to and because of the Tunnel Shop employees' complaints as described above, AoC management has retaliated against them by:

1)confronting Tunnel Shop employees on several occasions, berating them and demanding to know which of them were involved in writing letters to Congress about unsafe working conditions;

2)harassing Tunnel Shop employees for seeking independent medical testing to determine the extent of their injuries from exposure to asbestos and other toxins;

3)publicly disparaging them, including by falsely telling members of Congress who have attempted to address the Tunnel Shop employees' concerns that the Tunnel Shop employees are irresponsible "hotheads" who have misrepresented AoC's non-compliance with the law;

4)falsely accusing Tunnel Shop employees and their supervisor of being "difficult," of not being "team players," of being "insubordinate," and of obstructing the operation of the Capitol Power Plant;

5)attempting to intimidate the Tunnel Shop employees by allowing a high-level AoC manager to raise his voice and call them "fucking assholes" in a safety meeting that AoC purportedly held to address their concerns;

6)excluding Tunnel Shop employees from critical meetings that have purported to address the hazardous conditions in which they work;

7)denying Tunnel Shop employees the level of hazard pay to which they are entitled for working with specific hazards in the tunnels, and threatening to revoke the hazard pay that AoC pays to Tunnel Shop supervisor John Thayer; Attachment to Request for Counseling Office of Compliance October 18,2006 Page 2

8)threatening to remove Tunnel Shop supervisor John Thayer, who has played a leading role in the workers' fight for safe working conditions, and attempting to undermine Mr. Thayer's position by going around him and giving orders directly to his crew;

9)posting the job of assistant Tunnel Shop supervisor without consulting Mr. Thayer, and then -refusing to consider three highly qualified Tunnel Shop employees for the position when they applied;

10)attempting to enlist AoC human resources officials in terminating the employment of the entire Tunnel Shop crew;

11)falsely accusing the Tunnel Shop employees of sabotaging AoC's efforts to improve safety by refusing to properly decontaminate after exposure to asbestos, and falsely accusing three workers of refusing to shave their beards in order to be fitted for respirators;

12)refusing to upgrade the positions of Tunnel Shop employees and supervision to grades and salary levels that are commensurate with the levels of employees and supervisors who perform comparable work in other areas of the Capitol Power Plant;

13)delaying Tunnel Shop employees' access to an April 2006 report on tunnel safety issues, and providing such access only upon the agreement of Tunnel Shop employees not to disclose the report, which AoC did not obtain from others to whom it provided the report;

14)micromanaging the tunnel Shop employees' work, criticizing their work without justification, and instructing their supervisor to write them up for supposed insubordination when they have insisted on compliance with safety rules, such as when they refused to abandon their safety posts during confined space work to attend a hastily called respirator certification procedure;

15)removing Tunnel Shop employees' responsibilities and assigning those responsibilities to contract employees;

16)assigning a social worker to monitor the workers' activities on behalf of management under the guise of helping them to cope with work-related stress;

17)assigning one or more managers to spy on the Tunnel Shop employees in an effort to intimidate them in the exercise of their legal rights and to find pretexts for disciplining them; and

18)hindering the Tunnel Shop employees in their efforts to obtain accurate medical diagnoses by denying them the opportunity to visit an appropriate physician while at the same time assigning an unqualified consultant to inquire into that physician's efforts to diagnose their conditions.

The Tunnel Shop employees are available to meet with Office of Compliance investigators to provide additional details regarding the unlawful actions described above.