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  • Harroll Ingram Jr.

Whistleblower Protections Usually Fall Short

One of the committees in the House of Representatives introduced a bill aimed at increasing whistleblower protections for federal employees and preventing agencies from retaliating against its employees. The bill also seeks to give #whistleblowers the right to proceed to a federal jury trial if the Merit Systems Protections Board (MSPB), the agency chartered to protect federal employees from agency retaliation, does not act on the employee's complaint within 180 days. Although the bill is designed to help federal employees, history has shown whistleblower laws usually fall short of providing meaningful protections.

Whistleblowers must utilize the MSPB, after initially complaining to the Office of Special Counsel, to have any chance of getting help in stopping the unlawful punishing actions of agency leaders. Usually, the MSPB rules in favor of the agency and against the federal employee. According to the MSPB's annual reports revealing statistics concerning the results of all of the complaints filed for the year, the percentage of employee favorable rulings (i.e., rulings in favor of the complainant) is always below 10%. Obviously, the problem is not the law. The problem concerns the Judges. To support my statement, I will add that the MSPB seats Judges who do not have a law degree. If congress really wants to help federal employees, introduce a bill requiring each MSPB Judge to have a law degree.

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