HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A judge says a VA Montana leader harassed and retaliated against an employee because the worker filed a patient safety report over an operating room error.

Administrative Judge James Kasic's initial decision Friday orders the Department of Veterans Affairs to pay damages and offer former Associate Chief of Inpatient Care Dianne Scotten a job similar to what she held before she resigned in December 2014.

Scotten attorney Jill Gerdrum (JER'-drum) says Scotten has a new job and is not looking to return to the VA. Gerdrum says the judge's decision should give hope to people who want to speak out and hopefully lead to changes at VA Montana.

VA spokesman Mike Garcia did not return a call or email on Friday.

Scotten filed her whistleblower claim with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.