Ex-APL worker sues over layoff Termination in May called retribution

October 27, 1995|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

A former employee at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) has filed a $550,000 lawsuit against the nonprofit research facility, alleging that he was wrongfully terminated during recent company layoffs.

In a suit filed Oct. 11 in Howard County Circuit Court, William W. Mattes Jr. of Pasadena says that he was targeted as part of a 258-worker staff reduction at the laboratory near Laurel because of a personal dispute with his supervisor and retribution by other officials.

That dispute included complaints by Mr. Mattes to his supervisor about falsified data being used in his department that would affect performance of a satellite, according to the 19-page suit.

The supervisor and others "suppressed" Mr. Mattes' efforts to correct the falsified data, according to the suit.

Neither Mr. Mattes or his Baltimore attorney, A. Tony Heper, returned repeated phone calls over the past two days.

Dee Reese, a spokeswoman for APL, the county's largest private employer, said the institution denies Mr. Mattes' allegations and said no one in the May layoffs was a victim of retribution.

"We don't agree with anything that has been claimed," Ms. Reese said. "We believe we acted in good faith" when choosing which positions to cut for the layoff.

APL, a 365-acre research facility, cut 158 full-time employees and 100 contract employees as part of a reduction in force, the result of a $70.9 million loss of funding. The layoff was the first major staff reduction at the lab.

The 53-year-old lab is known as a national resource for defense and satellite studies. While it primarily contracts with the Navy, it also conducts research for 250 other government agencies.

As of this week, Mr. Mattes is the only employee known to have filed suit against APL because of the May layoffs.

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