Fedweek

fedweek.com: OSC Urges Broader Reading of Whistleblower Protections

House Democratic leaders on civil service issues have proposed a broadening of protections for whistleblowing federal employees in what would be the most significant set of changes to those laws since a 2012 revision.

Provisions aimed at expanding the scope of protections include: making clear that no federal government employee, up to and including the President, may interfere with or retaliate against a federal employee sharing information with Congress; prohibiting agencies from launching retaliatory investigations in certain situations; defining certain types of furloughs as retaliatory actions; and prohibiting retaliation against an employee who makes whistleblowing-type disclosures to a supervisor.

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It further would broaden the categories of covered employees to include noncareer Senior Executive Service employees, Public Health Service officers or applicants, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s commissioned officer corps.

Regarding the legal process, the bill would speed up consideration of requests for a delay in a personnel action the employee considers retaliatory pending further investigations; grant whistleblowers access to a jury trial in federal district court if the MSPB does not issue a decision in 180 days (or 240 days for complex cases); and clarify that whistleblowers who prevail are entitled to recover attorney fees and other relief such as training, restoration of seniority, or a promotion consistent with the employee’s record.

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