Federal Whistleblower Protections
During your career as a federal employee you may witness a situation that you believe to be illegal, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority by a supervisor, fellow federal employee, or more. Federal employees are encouraged to speak out if they witness these issues in the workplace, but in doing so some Federal employees may face work-related retaliation that can range from a change of duties, being passed over for promotion, or even complete removal from the job.
Our Federal employment attorneys are committed to helping Whisteblowers, whom we consider modern-day heroes, report wrongdoing by their agencies, and to helping protect them from retaliation for doing so. When an employee notices or suspects a violation of law, rule, or regulation; gross mismanagement; a gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, and reports it, that employee becomes a whistleblower. The employee can report their concern to a supervisor, the Inspector General (IG), or the Office of Special Counsel (OSC). When an agency official takes, threatens to take, or fails to take a personnel action against an employee because of their whistleblowing activity, the agency official has retaliated against the whistleblower. The Whistleblower Protection Act makes retaliating against a whistleblower a prohibited personnel practice. Despite this protection, retaliation is still common, and the process for addressing whistleblower retaliation can be complicated.
Our federal employment attorneys are advocates for you and are here to assist you in protecting your rights should you need to blow the whistle, or be facing retaliation for doing so. Our Whistleblower attorneys are experienced in presenting claims to the IG and the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and pursuing claims of Whistleblower Retaliation at OSC, and as an Individual Right of Action at the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). We will work tirelessly to help you achieve a positive outcome. If you believe that you are being retaliated against for blowing the whistle, or want to blow the whistle, fill out our Contact Us form to have our Client Intake Manager contact you to schedule your consultation with our Senior Partner.
Types of Reprisal Federal Whistleblowers Are Protected Against:
From a public policy perspective, whistleblowing is a form of civil disobedience, and aims to protect the public from government wrongdoing. Indeed, according to the Government Accountability Project, “Whether the issue is food safety or financial integrity, disclosures made by whistleblowers are one of the most effective tools to promote government and corporate accountability.”
That being said, rather than being thanked for raising concerns about wrongdoing, whistleblower employees may suffer reprisal. The types of retaliation whistleblowers are protected against include:
- Poor performance reviews
- Reductions in job responsibilities
- Threats of criminal investigation or prosecution
- Federal Whistleblower Employee Individual Right Of Action (IRA)
Whistleblower Appeal Rights
“It is a prohibited personnel practice for an agency to take, threaten to take, propose, or not take a personnel action because of whistleblowing activities. You are protected if you make such a disclosure to the Special Counsel, the Inspector General of an agency, or another employee designated by an agency head to receive such disclosures. You are also protected if you make such a disclosure to other individuals or organizations (e.g., a congressional committee or the media), provided that the disclosure is not specifically prohibited by law and the information does not have to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or the conduct of foreign affairs.”
All prohibited personal practice complaints are heard by the Office Of Special Counsel who has jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to a whistleblower appeal.
Contact A Federal Whistleblower Attorney