Q:

What is the whistleblowing policy for federal employees?

A:

Quick Answer

All federal employees may report any fraudulent or negligent activity by the departments or agencies for which they work without fear of retaliation from supervisors, according to the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 and the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012. Though the employees are under no obligation to report such acts, failure to do so may result in implications of indirect involvement or negligent behavior.

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What is the whistleblowing policy for federal employees?
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Full Answer

A whistleblower is a person who brings knowledge of illegal or illicit behavior within an official organization to the public, such as by speaking to a member of the press or publishing documents on a personal website. As such, the government maintains two separate federal acts that outline the rights of such employees, allowing for a safe disclosure of such details without fear of retribution or negative action. The laws explain the different methods for reporting the wrongdoing, allowing for multiple levels of protection regardless of the act itself.

For example, if the aide of a member of Congress witnesses the official taking a bribe from a lobbyist, the aide may provide documentation of the act to a journalist and obtain official status as a whistleblower. Regardless of the action taken against the member of Congress, the aide may not be terminated or receive a threat of termination as a result of her actions. Similarly, if a county clerk witnesses fraud within her department, she may report the action to a supervisor and obtain the same protections.

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