Proposed Major Overhaul to Whistleblower Protection Act

Senator Chuck Grassley, a champion of qui tam whistleblower protection is co-sponsoring legislation to update the 1989 Whistleblower Protection Act originally co-authored by Senator Grassley. The law currently provides protection from retaliation to federal employees who expose possible waste, fraud and abuse in federal agencies. Grassley’s proposed updates would restore federal employee whistleblower protections, which Grassley contends have been denied because of decisions of the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and the anti-whistleblower sentiments of those in executive branch agencies.

The new legislation, co-sponsored by Grassley, Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, would expand protections for the first time to include employees in the intelligence community. Other proposed changes include suspending the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals sole jurisdiction over federal employee FCA cases for five years; extending whistleblower protections and other non-discrimination and anti-retaliatory laws to Transportation Security Administration employees; allowing jury trials under certain circumstances for five years; and establishing an executive branch review policy if security clearance is denied or revoked because of a whistleblower disclosure. The bill has a reasonable chance of being enacted considering that a nearly identical bill was passed by the Senate and a modified version was passed by the House in 2010, but Congress adjourned before the two versions could be reconciled. A complete list of changes that would be enacted under the legislation is available via the link provided below.

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