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A federal appeals court has rejected an employee’s claim of reprisal in an agency’s denial of a professional development opportunity, finding that while the employee had made a disclosure protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act, the agency provided enough evidence that it would have taken the same action regardless of that disclosure.

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that under whistleblower law, denial of training can be a covered personnel action if the training may reasonably be expected to lead to an appointment, promotion, performance evaluation, or other covered personnel action.


However, it upheld a hearing officer’s finding that limits on professional development opportunities applied to all similarly situated employees.

The court also agreed with the hearing officer the employee failed to make a showing that her working conditions rose to the level of a hostile work environment or that her working conditions were so intolerable that her resignation was involuntary.

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2022 Federal Employees Handbook