Fedweek

Retaliatory investigations becoming a more common form of reprisal, groups warn.

Three groups that advocate for whistleblowers say that further protections are needed including creating a right for federal employees to have jury trials in federal court when they claim they have been retaliated against for their disclosures.

The groups—the Project on Government Oversight, Government Accountability Project and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility—called for that and other changes on the 30th anniversary the 1989 Whistleblower Protection Act, which greatly expanded prior protections. The law has been broadened in lesser ways several times since, most notably in the 2012 Whistleblower Protections Enhancement Act.

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“Despite the numerous protections that whistleblowers were granted under the WPA, and later the WPEA, many loopholes remain,” the groups said. In addition to jury trial, they said that additional protections are needed against retaliatory criminal investigations, which they said “are replacing workplace harassment as the reprisal of choice” and in providing temporary relief to employees since such cases “routinely take 3-5 years to litigate and delays are increasing sharply.”