On September 9, 2004 Dixon’s immediate supervisor certified that Dixon’s performance, conduct and general traits of character had been satisfactory and recommended Dixon be retained beyond the probationary period.
In October 2006, one week before the end of his probationary period, Dixon was fired.
Dixon filed a whistleblower lawsuit. The complaint outlined violations of numerous federal laws including the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, Superfund, the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The complaint also outlines a number of problems which were not addressed by his superiors because they would drive up remediation costs and cause political problems.
In September 2006 an administrative law judge ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management illegally fired Dixon for speaking out about the health and safety dangers at the toxic Anaconda Mine site. The judge ordered the BLM to pay Earle Dixon two years worth of back pay and benefits totaling over $120,000.
The BLM appealed the decision to the U.S. Labor Department's Administrative Review Board. The Board upheld the decision. The board also upheld the judge's order for the BLM to reimburse Dixon for $10,000 in moving expenses after he was fired in October 2005 as well as attorney fees and costs expected to exceed $50,000. The final ruling may be viewed HERE.
The review board determined that the BLM fired Dixon because he "raised concerns that the contamination at the Yerington site was much greater than previously documented," and "refused to back down from his conclusions about worker health and safety issues."
Dixon had requested punitive damages of up to $1 million. The board rejected that request stating "Nothing in this record would support an award of any amount of punitive damages…”