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The Homeland Security Act of 2002 does not regulate employment relationships at facilities like chemical plants, a federal judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., has ruled in a case of first impression. Independent Chemical Corp., a Queens, N.Y., company whose chemicals are used in making industrial cleaners and food additives, had argued that the act barred it from continuing to employ a man who had been indicted for attempted murder in the shooting of his common law wife. Act doesn’t apply But Judge Dora L. Irizarry of the Eastern District of New York said the act’s restrictions on distributing explosive materials to individuals under indictment did not apply to the employee, Anthony Bennett, because Bennett’s job merely required him to handle chemicals. The act, she said, was intended to deal with the sale or distribution of explosive materials, and the chemical company would never give Bennett title to the materials. The judge ruled in Independent Chemical Corp. v. Local Union 807, No. 05-cv-1987, that the act did not create a public-policy exception under which she could vacate the determination of an arbitration panel. The panel reinstated Bennett, who has also been accused of violence at the workplace, and awarded what could amount to $100,000 in back pay under the terms of his union contract.

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