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City of Gardiner is charged with whistleblower retaliation

Fred Cyr, the former chief operator of Gardiner’s waste-water treatment plant, claims that the city forced him out of his job because he complained about health and safety issues at the plant. More specifically, he claims that he complained about vandalism which, in some instances, caused raw sewage to leak out into the Kennebec River. According to Mr. Cyr, the Director of the city’s Wastewater and Public Works Department created a hostile work environment and took adverse actions against him because of his complaints. The city maintains that Mr. Cyr’s whistleblower claim is “baseless.”

Mr. Cyr’s whistleblower claim is currently pending with the Maine Human Rights Commission (MHRC). The MHRC is the state agency charged with enforcing Maine’s Whistleblower Protection Act (MWPA). The MHRC typically conducts an investigation before it decides whether reasonable grounds exist to believe that an employer has violated the MWPA. The MHRC has not completed its investigation in this case yet.