March 16, 2018

Bipartisan Bill Cosponsored by Senator Hassan to Strengthen Protections for Whistleblowers Passes the Senate

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan bill cosponsored by Senator Maggie Hassan to strengthen protections for whistleblowers passed the Senate this week. The bipartisan Whistleblower Protection Coordination Act will permanently extend the program requiring a dedicated official in each inspector general office focused on whistleblower protection issues. The bill changes the title of these officials from ombudsman to “Whistleblower Protection Coordinator” so that potential whistleblowers better understand the role of this position and authorizes Whistleblower Protection Coordinators to more actively promote and protect whistleblowing to employees in their agency. 

 

“Whistleblowers play a critical role in exposing wrongdoing within the federal government, and it is important that they have the support necessary to come forward to speak the truth,” Senator Hassan said. “I am pleased that the bipartisan Whistleblower Protection Coordination Act passed the Senate, and I will keep fighting to strengthen protections for brave whistleblowers so that they can speak out without fear of penalty.”

 

As part of her efforts to protect whistleblowers, Senator Hassan recently voted to approve the bipartisan All Circuit Review Act to strengthen protections and support for whistleblowers by permanently extending the authority for federal employees to appeal a decision from the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) at any federal circuit court of appeals, rather than only at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.

 

Under the Whistleblower Protection Coordination Act, the coordinators will be tasked with assisting inspectors general in productive communications with other stakeholders, like the Office of Special Counsel and Congress. They will also be able to better help the inspectors general strengthen their own roles in investigating reprisal and whistleblower disclosures. The legislation also requires additional reporting to Congress on actual steps taken to hold accountable those who retaliate against whistleblowers.

 

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