Whistleblower Protections for Federal Employees Strengthened by Enactment of WPEA
Posted on November 29, 2012
This week, President Barack Obama signed into law S. 743, Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA), thereby strengthening protections afforded to federal employees who blow the whistle on fraud, abuse, and waste in the public sector. Among its many enhancements to whistleblower protection, the WPEA will:
- Ensure that whistleblowers receive protection even if they were not the first to report the wrongdoing or if reporting the wrongdoing or fraud was done within the scope of their job duties
- Offer coverage to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers
- Expand anti-retaliation protections by allowing the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) to pursue disciplinary actions against supervisors who engage in retaliatory conduct against whistleblowers
- Enact a special two-year pilot program ending the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals’ sole jurisdiction to review decisions brought under the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) and granting regional appellate courts the right to hear such whistleblower protection claims.
- Prohibit a Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) practice that allows agencies to present their defense and the MSPB to adjudicate cases prior to whistleblowers’ presenting their evidence of retaliation
The attorneys at The Employment Law Group® law firm are experienced in protecting the careers of federal employees and whistleblowers and recently obtained a $819,000 False Claims Act verdict on behalf of a federal research grant recipient who reported the misuse of federal funds.