Whistleblower Bill Advances In Senate

A United States Senate committee has approved a bill that would give broader whistleblower protection to federal employees. The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009, S. 372, which amends the existing Whistleblower Protection Act, was unanimously approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
The legislation is sponsored by both Republican and Democrats, including including Sens. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawaii, Susan M. Collins, R-Maine, and Joe I. Lieberman, I-Conn.
As reported from committee, the bill would increase whistleblower protections by clarifying that federal employees are protected for any disclosure of waste, fraud or abuse, including those made as part of an employee’s job duties. It would provide protections for the first time to employees at the Transportation Security Administration, and allow whistleblowers to bring their cases before a jury in federal courts, provided that the case meets certain conditions.
The measure would also set up a process in the executive branch to adjudicate whistleblower claims in cases when employees claim their security clearance was denied or revoked, or if they were denied classified information as a result of their disclosures.
The measure also creates an ombudsman position in every Inspector General office to advocate for protected federal employees, and suspends the U.S. Courts of Appeals’ sole jurisdiction over federal employee whistleblower cases for five years.
The Senators have proposed this bill in the response to fears of federal employees of retaliation for coming forward to disclose government wrongdoing.
Finch McCranie LLP has actively and successfully practiced in the area of Whistleblower law. For more information please visit our Whistleblower blog at https://www.whistleblowerlawyerblog.com.

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