Laid-off Livermore Scientists Make Abuse Claims

Bechtel blamed for "picking and choosing" who got pink slips.

Dozens of former workers laid off from their jobs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are claiming age-discrimination in their terminations last year.

In call, 440 employees were given notice in May of 2008.

"They went through picking and choosing. It was such an insult. They gave people 30 minutes to clear out their desks," former human resources manager Elaine Andrews, 62, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

California workers over the age of 40 are specifically protected under state laws designed to reduce age-discrimination by employers.

The layoffs came after the Department of Energy-funded lab came under new management under a consortium of public and private organizations under Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC.

San Francisco's Bechtel, a privately-owned engineering firm that's a partner in the consortium, was singled out for abuse.

The engineering company helps manage most US nuclear infrastructure, from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico to the Hanford Site in Washington.

Let's all just stop for a moment and be thankful that this is being settled by lawyers and probably out of court. Because the prospect of what a disrunteld veteran scientist or engineer at the nation's premier nuclear research institution might do is frightening.

Jackson West has never sold nuclear secrets to anyone, promise.

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