Whistleblower Retaliation

Jennifer Duke
March 17, 2016

In order to file a whistleblower retaliation claim with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), an employee or applicant must allege that a prohibited personnel practice occurred or was threatened as a result of the employee or applicant's protected whistleblower disclosure.

closeup of a hand holding a silver whistle

Protected Whistleblower Disclosure

Our last blog post discussed the formal whistleblowing process for employees, former employees, and applicants who witness misconduct by the federal government.

A disclosure is a protected whistleblower disclosure if an employee or applicant discloses information which they reasonably believes helps prove:

  1. A violation of any law, rule, or regulation
  2. Gross mismanagement
  3. A gross waste of funds
  4. An abuse of authority
  5. A substantial and specific danger to public health or safety
A typewriter against a leafy green background with a piece of paper with the word truth typed on it

Whistleblower Protection

The law prohibiting reprisal for whistleblowing requires proof that one or more of the following personnel actions occurred, or failed to occur, because of a legally protected disclosure:

  • An appointment
  • A promotion
  • An action under 5 U.S.C. chapter 75 or other disciplinary or corrective action
  • A detail, transfer, or reassignment
  • A reinstatement
  • A restoration
  • A reemployment
  • A decision about pay, benefits, or awards concerning education or training if the education or training may reasonably be expected to lead to an appointment, promotion, performance evaluation, or other action described in 5 U.S.C. § 2302(a)(2)
  • A performance evaluation under 5 U.S.C. chapter 43
  • A decision to order psychiatric testing or examination; or
  • Any other significant change in duties, responsibilities, or working conditions.
Scrabble tiles against a white background spelling out prove them wrong

If OSC fails to complete its review of a whistleblower reprisal allegation within 120 days, or if it closes a complaint without seeking corrective action, the employee or applicant alleging retaliation has the right to file an Individual Right of Action Appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

If you are a federal employee, former federal employee, or applicant for federal employment who blew the whistle and believes that you are being retaliated against as a result, the federal employee attorneys at Melville Johnson, P.C. may be able to help. Call or message us today using the form below to discuss your situation and learn how we can assist you.

This blog and web site published by Melville Johnson, P.C. should not be used as a substitute for seeking competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney. Readers of this information should not act upon any information contained on this blog or website without seeking professional counsel.
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