Article Summary

In 2011, the city of Washington, D.C. amended its Whistleblower Protection Act to be among the strongest in the nation. It has a broad scope of liability; protects employees from the often exploited "duty speech" loopholes; prohibits a broad range of retaliation; and has many procedural components that are favorable to whistleblowers.

This article by TELG managing principal R. Scott Oswald and former principal Jason Zuckerman was published by Bloomberg BNA Daily Labor Report on September 30, 2011. The full article is .

Excerpted from:

DC’s Amended Whistleblower Protection Act: The Gold Standard for Public Sector Whistleblower Protection

As states face unprecedented budgetary constraints, curbing waste, fraud, and abuse has become a top priority. To encourage public sector employees to blow the whistle on waste, fraud, and abuse, states must provide robust whistleblower protections to employees.

Fortunately, several state and local governments have recently enacted whistleblower protection legislation or strengthened existing whistleblower protection statutes, including Alabama, Alaska, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, and Vermont.

Washington, D.C., recently amended its Whistleblower Protection Act (D.C. WPA), which is now the strongest public sector whistleblower protection statute in the country.

The expansion of whistleblower protection law in the public sector is likely driven by the following conclusion that the D.C. Council reached in strengthening the D.C. WPA: "There is real value … whenever a whistleblower identifies potential risks to the District like fraud, waste, and abuse. Retaliation deters future whistleblowing, thereby affecting the District’s bottom line. Similarly, visible acts of retaliation by managers and public officials reduce morale, contribute to attrition, and diminish the public trust."