Understanding the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act

The original Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) of 1989 was enacted by Congress to give whistleblowers throughout the government a variety of legal protections to deter undue retaliation against them. It also established different remedies that could be used if it was concluded that retaliation had occurred for whistleblowing. Unfortunately for whistleblowers and the average American, several judicial orders and ruling throughout the years started to deteriorate the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, steering it away from its original intent.

Enter the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) of 2012. This piece of legislation was aimed specifically to repair and restore the WPA after a 2010 Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) survey determined that around 33% of all federal employers who reported internal wrongdoing or issues faced retaliation.

Problems the WPEA corrected include:

  • Direct punishment: If a whistleblower reported a potential issue caused by a superior directly to that superior, a legal loophole allowed said superior to penalize that whistleblower without it counting as retaliation.
  • Normal duties: Another considerable legal loophole didn’t count reporting issues in accordance to regular work duties to be a form of whistleblowing; therefore, punishment could follow without it technically being retaliation.
  • Common knowledge: Issues that were already known to be a problem could not be reported again to a higher authority without fear of retaliation because yet another loophole caused that action to not technically be called whistleblowing.

Other actions or corrections made by the WPEA include:

  • Largely removes the ability for agencies to use gag clauses.
  • Provides the opportunity to earn further compensatory damages after facing retaliation.
  • Encourages whistleblowers to pursue individual right of action (IRA) appeals.
  • Adds whistleblower protections to all Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees.
  • Broadens federal outreach to educate employees of their whistleblower protections.

Hold the Government Accountable, Again

If you are a whistleblower facing retaliation for speaking up about a serious internal issue, you are going to have to speak up yet again by taking legal action to protect yourself. At The Law Firm of John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorneys at Law, PLLC, our DC federal employment lawyer is well-versed in all matters related to the WPA and WPEA, enabling our clients to find peace of mind while facing the undue discretion of the federal government. Contact our firm today to learn about our record of case victories, your rights, and more.