Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989

Also known as: WPA

George H. W. Bush

Signed into law by George H. W. Bush
April 10, 1989

The Whistleblower Protection Act protects federal employees who disclose information that they reasonably believe is evidence of a violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.

Enforcement & Remedies

Under the WPA, employees who believe they have been subjected to reprisal because of their protected disclosures may:

(1) state a claim with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC);
(2) pursue an individual right of action before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB);
(3) appeal to the MSPB regarding an agency’s adverse action against the employee; or
(4) initiate a grievance proceeding pursuant to negotiated grievance procedures.

Under the WPA, a prevailing employee will be made whole, i.e., returned to the same position he or she would have been absent the retaliation. In particular, the WPA authorizes reinstatement, back pay for lost wages, compensatory damages, and litigation costs, including reasonable attorney fees.