The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 shields government employees who report unfair practices in management. The act was created when whistleblowers dealt with intimidation in the workplace after reporting fraudulent activity taking place in their division. Many of these individuals were forced to quit, if not fired, shortly after bringing injustices to light. There have been modifications to the law since its inception, but the basics of the act remain the same.
What the Whistleblower Act Does
The Whistleblower Act of 1989 ensures protection from threats. The Act prohibits a government entity from threatening an employee who has disclosed incriminating information with termination or any other disciplinary action solely because of what has been reported. If a government division violates this rule, the whistleblower can sue for damages in the case that the court determines the employee received legitimate threats.
Changes to the Whistleblower Act in 2012
President Barack Obama made changes to the Whistleblower Act in October 2012. Such revisions, recognized as the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012, gave individuals working for intelligence agencies in government more leeway when reporting unfair practices. These people were sworn to secrecy prior to the enhancement act of 2012 because of the sensitivity of their work.
Some individuals in management took advantage of the conditions and threatened employees with disciplinary action despite the initial Whistleblower Act of 1989 being in full effect. President Obama’s additions ensure that today all government employees receive the opportunity to report unfair practices without fear of being reprimanded.
More Whistleblower Changes in 2014 and Beyond
On July 14, 2014, the House of Representatives voted to pass the All Circuit Extension Act. The bill sought to extend the judicial review time for Merit Systems Protection Board decisions in whistleblower cases.
Additionally, several senators presented the idea of including the FBI Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act with the 1989 whistleblower law. These reforms give FBI employees more protection when reporting corruption in the department. Under the proposed bill, whistleblowers within the Bureau will be assigned administrative law judges who adjudicate cases and ensure no intimidation is taking place. Supervisors who violate a whistleblower’s rights would be reprimanded more quickly since designated judges would be assigned to individual cases.
Why the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 Is Necessary
Whistleblowers often endure harassment in the workplace after reporting unfair practices. While it is true that a company cannot terminate an individual for disclosing information, management can always find ways to make a person’s job more difficult.
Assigning additional work and embarrassing the whistleblower in front of co-workers are two of many tactics that supervisors use when attempting to “get back” at employees for speaking out. It is, therefore, necessary to have the Whistleblower Act in place and continually revised to ensure protection and contribute to a stress-free work environment.
What a Whistleblower Attorney Can Do for You
An experienced attorney brings years of experience and research tactics that can contribute to a successful case. A whistleblower lawyer will devote immeasurable time and effort to ensure the whistleblower is fully protected and rightly compensated for his actions.
Want to know more about your rights under the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989? Contact our team at Bothwell Law Group online.