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Employee gets $1M from jury

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Court > Lab plans to challenge verdict

By The Staff

Los Alamos National Laboratory’s operator said it will challenge a jury’s award of $1 million to a lab employee whose lawsuit said an angry supervisor twice made comments about using a gun to resolve on-the-job disputes.

A jury made the award to Marlayne Mahar earlier this week following a 3 1/2-day trial in District Court in Santa Fe, the Albuquerque Journal reported this morning.

Mahar’s lawsuit against Los Alamos National Security LLC, the partnership that runs the lab, alleged breach of the lab’s workplace violence policy, breach of contract and acting in bad faith.

The lab disputed the allegations and said it will challenge the trial’s results.

The newspaper also reported that Mahar’s lawyer, Tim Butler of Santa Fe, said the jurors listened to evidence from both sides, made the award in Mahar’s favor and that he and Mahar “respect their decision.”

The suit said a newly hired supervisor in the plutonium processing facility told Mahar in 2009 that a boss could shoot a worker who says the wrong thing. Another female employee days later reported that the same supervisor got angry with her and told her he was going to “bring in a gun and take care of it himself,” according to the suit.