Bard v. Bath Iron Works Corp.
590 A.2d 152 (Me. 1991).

Facts:

  • Bard was an inspector in the quality assurance department at BIW.
  • In the course of his inspection job, Bard discovered what he believed to be flaws in BIW’s quality assurance process, contrary to provisions in their K with the Navy.
  • On several occasions he brought the problem to the attention of his supervisors as well as Navy inspectors on site.
  • He was eventually fired for deliberately restricting output and creating a nuisance.
  • Bard sued, alleging, among other claims, violation of the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act.

History:
The trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

Issue:
Whether there was a violation of the WPA.

Holding:
No. Affirmed.

Reasoning:

  • A prima facie case of reprisal for whistleblowing requires that the employee show that

(1) he engaged in activity protected by the statute,
(2) he was the subject of adverse employment action, and
(3) there was a causal link between the protected activity and the adverse employment action.

  • Here, Bard failed to show that he engaged in protected activity:
    • Bard presented no evidence to show a belief on his part, as required by the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act, that BIW was in any way acting illegally.
    • He never testified or presented any other evidence to show that he had “reasonable cause to believe” that BIW had violated any law or rule.
  • Basically, a violation of law was required, not contract.