Whistle Where You Work? The Ineffectiveness of the Federal Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 and the Promise of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012

Source: Shelley L. Peffer, Aleksandr Bocheko, Rita E. Del Valle, Allmir Osmani, Shawn Peyton, and Edna Roman, Review of Public Personnel Administration, Vol. 35 no. 1, March 2015
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From the abstract:
The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) of 1989 was enacted to provide protection to employees who report wrongdoing on the part of their employers. This study analyzed whether the provisions in the WPA actually protect federal government employees from retaliation by their federal government employers. The research focused on a legal analysis of federal employee WPA claims litigated in federal court. Furthermore, within those cases, the claims were separated by issues—national security, environmental issues, and government ethics—to get a fuller understanding of WPA issues. The findings of the analysis suggested that the WPA did not provide adequate protections for employees. Out of 151 appellate cases that were identified and reviewed in the study, 79% of cases were ruled in favor of defendants—federal agencies. Out of 142 cases involving government ethics and administration issues, 79% of cases were lost by employees. In issues involving the environment, 100% of cases resulted in a loss for employees. Out of four cases involving national security, 75% were lost by federal employees. The results lead to the conclusion that either the WPA as written or the manner in which courts are interpreting the WPA is not consistent with the intent of the legislation—to protect employees. The article further analyses the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) of 2012 and whether it cures the defects in the WPA. The analysis shows that the WPEA may not live up to its promise.