House Passes Whistleblower Bills

The House of Representatives has passed three bills having to do with the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012.

UmbrellasYou will recall that NTEU was one of the lead proponents of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act when it passed in 2012. One of the provisions in the bill provided a pilot program to allow whistleblowers access to any Circuit Court of Appeals, rather than the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which had a dismal record of victory for whistleblowers. That pilot was a success and the House has now passed H.R. 2229, which would provide whistleblowers with permanent access to all circuit courts of appeals.

The House has also passed H.R. 2196, which expands the list of individuals to whom a whistleblower may disclose information evidencing a violation of law, gross mismanagement, waste of funds, abuse of authority, or danger to public health or safety to include intelligence community agency heads and others.

Finally, the House has passed a third whistleblower bill, S.585. However, this legislation is not without controversy as there are serious, remaining constitutional concerns with the bill and federal manager due process rights are severely curtailed. Under this bill, supervisors who retaliate against whistleblowers receive a three-day suspension for their first offense and would be removed from their positions for a second offense. There would be no recourse for either action. NTEU is of the position that Congress passed a meaningful whistleblower enhancement bill just a few years ago, and while we are supportive of discipline for federal managers who commit prohibited personnel practices, in general we support due process rights for all federal employees. This bill has already passed the Senate, and will now head to the President for enactment.

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