In recent months, we have seen an organized effort by some in Corporate America to keep employees from reporting fraudulent or illegal conduct by their employers. When scientific research is altered or suppressed, when government contractors waste millions of taxpayer dollars, or when national security documents are falsified, employees with knowledge need to know that they can blow the whistle without threatening their careers. We are very close to ending retaliation against those who speak up to protect the American people, but the U.S. Senate needs to strengthen the current bill that’s being debated. President Obama often has said that transparency and accountability are priorities for his Administration.
During his campaign, then-candidate Obama said he would work to strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. He said as President, he would ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers would have full access to the courts and due process.
The legislation that will make Obama’s campaign promise law is the Whistleblower Enhancement Act of 2009. Public Citizen and its partners in the Make It Safe Coalition strongly support the House version of the bill (H.R. 1507), which is on track to pass again for the third time. It includes two critical provisions missing from the Senate bill (S. 372):
• The House bill provides federal employees and contractors access to jury trials for their claims of retaliation when the government’s administrative review process fails, as it often has in the past. This right has been repeatedly granted to private-sector employees over the past ten years and makes the law work.
• The House bill also recognizes the special circumstances of intelligence and national security workers, providing safe channels for disclosure of wrongdoing without compromising our national security.
I hope all of our readers will help federal employees uphold the public trust! You can do this by asking your Senators to support the strongest possible protections for federal employees who keep the government transparent and accountable. It’s time for the Senate to improve the bill and add these two provisions! It’s our government – so take action today so that it will work for you in the immediate future.
Source: Public Citizen
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