Monthly Observations, Guidance, Tools, and Tips to Make Your Job Easier

March 19, 2020

Over the past few months, we have seen an uptick in media coverage about federal employees who blow the whistle, then accuse the agency of illegal reprisal in the wake of the whistleblowing. While we know that not everything in the media is reported as accurate, there is truth to some of these claims, and as a result are a few of takeaways that supervisors should remember:

  • Federal employees are permitted to make public disclosures of waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government, and the law protects them from illegal reprisal.
  • Even if you don’t like what the employee discloses, if it is protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act and Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, it is illegal for you to treat the employee adversely as a result of the disclosure.
  • If your agency chooses to take an action against a whistleblower (for example, discipline, performance, reassignment) then the action cannot be motivated by the whistleblowing or be issued because the person is a whistleblower. The required burden of proof in taking an action against a person who happens to be a whistleblower is clear and convincing, which is a much higher burden than typically needed in workplace actions.

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