Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

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Just whistle ...

As we sift through legal cases as part of our news reporting process, we sure see a lot of feds fail at pressing whistleblower claims and/or obtaining redress for whistleblowing-related retaliation—and it’s not because of a shortage of wrongdoing in the federal government.

Rather, employees seeking eventual redress from the Merit System Protections Board for whistleblower retaliation often find that they do not have protected status because they did not follow protocol—and so have failed to satisfy a long laundry list of statutory requirements.

According to the Merit Systems Protection Board, if a potential whistleblower fails to meet even one of those requirements, then MSPB has no jurisdiction to decide his or her whistleblower retaliation case.

MSPB has just posted a report on its Web site to help educate feds on the process. It says the report—Whistleblower Protections for Federal Employees—is the first from the board “to address in such depth the legal challenges that whistleblowers face.”

Potential whistleblowers might want to take a look.

As for those of you who have already spilled the beans—any war stories you want to share?

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Dec 08, 2010 at 4:02 PM


Reader comments

Thu, Sep 15, 2011

A terrorist would be treated better - they get a free lawyer, all paid for by the taxpayers!

Wed, Aug 10, 2011

If you blow the whistle you WILL pay for it. Whistle blower protection is a joke. If you do happen to stay employed by the gov't, your life will be a living hell. Believe me, I know of what I speak. It is just not worth it. Let them have their no show jobs and rip off the taxpayers, it beats the alternative.

Thu, Dec 9, 2010 Jack

From what I've seen, your chances at filing for whistle-blower protection are exponentially more favorable if you are in one of the protected categories: black, female, hispanic, over 55 or any combination of these categories: by no means would it be a slam-dunk but you'd have a much better chance at being heard. If you're blue collar white and male, blowing the whistle is tantamount to instant professional suicide. Even if you win, you lose. The reason there are so few feds willing to point out injustices and waste in their respective agencies is because of the choke-hold management has on the them. There are SO many clubs they can beat you with, there's hardly any point in trying to be constructive or even suggestive. Many (not all) feds pay dearly for their careers. These days, if a manager says your guilty of something, you....are....guilty. Even the grievance procedure is designed for management. There is precious little justice in the department of justice from what I've experienced. Don't expect feds receiving $30-50K annually to attempt whistle-blower protection against managers making three times that.

Thu, Dec 9, 2010 DC

I don't reccommend doing it, not worth loosing your job, or at least spending a small fortune defending your removal. It's like filing an EEO complaint, even if you by some stroke of luck win, you are kept after to make you quit. Your going up the ladder is over. I know first hand and have been paying for it for years now.

Thu, Dec 9, 2010

This problem is not limited to the MSPB and the laws under its jurisdiction. Try bringing a retaliation action in federal district court pursuant to any federal statutory provision that allegedly protects an employee from retaliation (any of the anti-discrimination statutes, 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983, etc.). If you can make it past the summary judgment stage, consider it the equivalent of winning the lottery. The federal courts have an institutional bias in favor of any employer and against any employee no matter how strong the evidence of retaliation is. If the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the employee, the federal court simply ignores it and asserts that there is a failure of proof. Or, the federal court will either misapply the law or make up the law knowing that the chances of it being reversed on appeal are slim to none. The federal judicial system is a joke and an incredible disservice to the citizens of this nation.

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