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Loopholes used for retaliation against whistleblowers closed

The federal government continues to incur debt, and while legislators cannot agree on exactly how it to gain and allocate federal funds, they don't want them wasted. Federal employees who report any fraud, waste or abuse that is being committed during government operations are protected under federal law from retaliation.

While there are laws in place to protect federal whistleblowers, this set of laws requires constant attention. In some cases there is ambiguity in the way a code is written and in other instances it is in the way a court interprets the law. Either way, little amendments or additions are often required. This past week, legislation was signed that provides a little more protection for federal whistleblowers.

The legislation signed this past Tuesday addressed specific loopholes and inconsistencies in judicial application that left room for abuse. President Barack Obama signed the legislation putting a close to a 13-year effort.

Current legislation provides protection for only those who first reported misconduct. The most recently signed legislation would open up protection to more than just the first-reporter. Not only does the legislation extend protections to the whistleblowers themselves, but it also removes some of the roadblocks that make it harder to punish a supervisor who actively retaliates against an individual who reports the government waste, abuse or fraud.

Source: The Washington Post, "President signs whistle-blower bill to protect federal workers who expose fraud, waste," Nov. 27, 2012

Even where laws do exist to protect employee rights, strong advocacy makes a big difference in the prosecution of a lawsuit. Our Kansas City Whistleblower page provides information about the claim and the options an employee has.

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