Leading House Democrats on civil service issues have introduced HR-7935, to limit disclosure of a whistleblower’s identity, prohibit retaliatory investigations, expand whistleblower protections to all noncareer appointees in the Senior Executive Service, and provide access to jury trials for whistleblowers.
The Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act also would clarify that no federal official may interfere with a federal employee’s ability to share information with Congress.
Also introduced were HR-7936 and S-4438, to increase protections against retaliation for filing Freedom of Information Act requests or Privacy Act requests. “These transparency laws are intended as tools for the public to obtain government information, and federal employees must be free to use the laws in the same way as any other member of the public,” sponsors said in introducing them.
A federal employee or applicant for employment engages in whistleblowing when the individual discloses to the Special Counsel or an Inspector General or comparable agency official (or to others, except when disclosure is barred by law or by executive order to avoid harm to the national defense or foreign affairs) information which the individual reasonably believes evidences the following types of wrongdoing:
-a violation of law, rule, or regulation;
-a gross waste of funds;
-an abuse of authority; or
-a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
Read more on federal employee whistleblower protections here.