by Geoff Ziezulewicz
Washington (UPI) Sep 2, 2016
A former Raytheon employee has filed a federal lawsuit against the defense giant, alleging the company fired him after he tried to report coworker misconduct in Afghanistan.
The lawsuit alleges that Steven Kalch, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, witnessed several instances of fraud, waste and abuse while working for Raytheon and training Afghan security forces from 2012 to 2014.
Kalch's complaints were ignored by superiors and he was fired in early 2014 over claims he tape-recorded U.S. Special Forces teams, a reason for termination that the lawsuit denies.
Instead, Kalch's lawsuit alleges he was fired after witnessing "gross mismanagement of services and misuse of government property" by Raytheon employees and having his concerns ignored by superiors while working at Camp Sparta in Kabul.
Raytheon officials did not respond to a request for comment.
Under Raytheon's contract, employees working to train Afghan forces were supposed to work 10 hours a day, 6 days a week for salaries of more than $175,000, according to the lawsuit.
"However, Kalch observed that the other trainers on the team spent nowhere near the hours documented on their time cards that were presented to the government," the lawsuit states. "Kalch personally observed that many trainers spent less than two hours per day performing work and services, and spent even less time with their Afghan counterparts for which they were contracted to train."
The lawsuit mentions one trainer who would return to camp 30 minutes after he set out to train the Afghans.
Another employee "would repeatedly claim that 'his people' were trained, and he would return to his room at the Camp within one hour of the day beginning," the lawsuit alleges.
Kalch was told "that Raytheon had been given the first two years of the contract as a 'freebie,'" the complaint alleges.
"On at least three separate occasions, Kalch advised the contracting officers of fraud, waste and abuse by Raytheon relating to this contract," the lawsuit states.
Kalch also alleges that a supervisor had two dogs and would take them on "joy rides" in government vehicles while employees were supposed to be training the Afghans.
That supervisor also allowed Afghans to drive and damage government vehicles, the lawsuit states.
Kalch also witnessed a Raytheon intelligence officer "highly intoxicated" on the base, the complaint alleges.
During and after Kalch's reporting of the misconduct, the lawsuit alleges he suffered a variety of retaliation and harassment before he was fired.
A superior required Kalch to go fetch the mail after every report of an insider threat to kill Americans on base, the lawsuit alleges.
When Kalch suspected an Afghan commander of stealing money, Kalch's boss told him to put his concerns in writing, and that only Raytheon leadership would see the document, according to the lawsuit.
Instead, the lawsuit alleges Raytheon officials took that document to a local Afghan commander.
The superior "laughed" when Kalch asked if they were trying to get him killed, the lawsuit states.
Kalch alleges in the lawsuit that he went to a higher Raytheon superior after the incident and was told "not to put anything in writing in the future."
Other allegations of retaliation include the superior playing Christmas music endlessly in the office.
"When Kalch asked for it to stop, it continued without end and a singing Santa Claus was placed directly behind Kalch's desk," the lawsuit states.
Supervisors would reference Kalch's age, say he needed to work out more and once moved his work space to a counter, according to the lawsuit.
Kalch received good performance reviews but was informed of his looming termination in December 2013 because the U.S. Army had lost confidence in him, the lawsuit states.
A recording of Kalch reporting the misconduct to superiors was destroyed by Raytheon, the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit seeks damages of an unspecified amount for lost wages as well as emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, humiliation, embarrassment, loss of enjoyment of life, stress and loss of reputation.
It also seeks punitive damages against Raytheon and plaintiff attorney fees.
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