Whistleblower Law Blog
Senate Approves Stronger Whistleblower Protection for Federal Employees Who Expose Government Wrongdoing
On November 13, 2012, the Senate voted in favor of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA), S. 743/H.R. 3289, a piece of legislation that would provide federal whistleblowers with stronger protection from retaliation. Overall, this bill will close many gaps in the existing law, providing additional protection to those who expose fraud, waste, abuse, and illegal activity in the federal government.
Specifically, WPEA will close loopholes which currently allow agencies to protect only the first employee who reports government misconduct and allow agencies to retaliate against reporting employees if the misconduct falls within their job duties. This bill also modifies the standards an employee must meet in order to make a disclosure to only require “reasonable belief” of misconduct. Additionally, government scientists and Transportation Security Administrative employees will be provided with whistleblower protection, and compensatory damages will be provided to whistleblowers that prevail after an administrative hearing.
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC), which would enforce WPEA, praised the Senate’s vote and has stated that this bill will “provide OSC with all the tools it needs to effectively fulfill its mission to protect employees from unlawful retaliation.”
After over a decade of being pushed through Congress, this bill was presented to President Obama on November 16, 2012 to be signed into law.
The Employment Law Group® law firm has an extensive nationwide whistleblower practice representing employees who have been victims of retaliation.