Summary: Last night, the Senate passed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act and the bill will now go before the president to be signed into law. The legislation will significantly improve protections for federal employees who expose fraud, waste, and abuse and will also make it easier to reprimand supervisors who retaliate against these employees.
GAP has worked for 13 years on this legislation to improve whistleblower protections. While the bill lacks all the improvements GAP sought, it is a major step in the right direction.
Key Quote: The legal director of the Government Accountability Project, Tom Devine, said: "After a 13-year roller coaster campaign, Congress unanimously has given whistle-blowers who defend the public a fighting chance to defend themselves. This is a major victory for taxpayers and public servants, but a major defeat for special interests and bureaucrats. Free speech rights for government employees never have been stronger."
Related Article: Washington Post
Summary: The recently-passed WPEA will cover USDA inspectors and FDA employees, hopefully improving food safety oversight. Thanks to this legislation, as well as the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, many food workers are protected when they speak out about problems. However, as GAP’s Food Integrity Campaign’s press release stated, “USDA-regulated product industry workers still lack protections. These workers — who monitor our beef, poultry, pork and egg products — still cannot safely speak up for the public welfare.”
Summary: Thanks to the reelection of Barack Obama, the Dodd-Frank Act will not be repealed, and the whistleblower protections included in it will continue to be implemented and enforced. Whistleblower programs were created at both the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission through the Act.
Summary: This column highlights the importance of strong whistleblower policies within the UK nonprofit sector. If employees believe they can come forward with any concerns, those issues are less likely to turn into scandals that could potentially leave an organization’s reputation “in tatters.” The article also cites GAP’s UK counterpart, Public Concern at Work.
Hannah Johnson is Communications Associate for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.