The Senate passed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (S. 372) on Friday, December, 10th, by unanimous consent. As the National Whistleblowers Center has repeatedly stated S. 372 is a bad deal for whistleblowers. There are two poison pills in the bill that fundamentally undermine the small advances in the bill. There is still time to fix the bill.
For the first time ever, federal employees will not be protected for blowing the whistle on a violation of law. The excuse given to justify this dangerous rollback is that it only excludes minor violations of law. The fact is there is no such thing as a minor violation of law. Either it is violation of the law or it is not. Federal managers should not be allowed to decide what laws they can violate.
In fact, this provision overturns one of few Federal Court decisions in 30 years that ordered corrective action for a whistleblower. The provision also runs counter to every major study on how to detect fraud, including the most recent study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. These studies have found that the best way to detect fraud is to protect whistleblowers who report even suspicious activity because it is often the suspicious activity that leads to the discovery of major fraud.
The second major rollback in the Senate bill is the increased power given to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). Instead of reforming the broken MSPB, for the first time in history the Senate has given the Board the ability to summarily dismiss a whistleblowers case without ever having a hearing. The House resisted efforts in 1978 to give the MSPB this tremendous authority and should continue to do so today.
These two dangerous rollbacks in existing whistleblower protections can be fixed in the House and sent back to the Senate. We cannot allow another generation of whistleblowers to suffer. Urge the House to continue to stand up for real whistleblower protections and fix the Senate bill before passing it.
Whistleblowers were promised enhanced protections. We will not stand by silently and watch Congress destroy existing whistleblowers rights so that they can say they passed something for whistleblowers. Please help us protect whistleblowers by taking action and then passing this alert on to your friends and family.