Office of Special Counsel

This month, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) publicly released its 2017 Annual Report to Congress. Overall confidence in the ability of OSC to protect federal employees has increased. Nonetheless, there are still areas for improvement regarding OSC’s handling of whistleblower reports.

Continue Reading OSC Continues to Protect and Advocate for Whistleblowers in Federal Government

On Monday, August 1st, four federal agencies celebrated National Whistleblower Day with an event sponsored by the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus. This was the first time any federal agencies have ever recognized Whistleblower Day, although the U.S. Senate has passed a resolution four years in a row proclaiming July 30th as National Whistleblower Day.

Continue Reading Agency Leaders Praise Whistleblowers, Express Need for Reforms

In January 2015, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) submitted a proposed rule it claimed would extend protections under the Civil Service Reform Act and the Whistleblower Protection Act to employees of Federal contractors.  The National Whistleblower Center filed a public comment on March 23, 2015, stating that the proposed rule could cause more harm than good for employees of federal contractors and asked the OSC to withdraw the proposed rule.

On December 30, 2015, the OSC filed a notice in the Federal Register to withdraw the proposed rule.

David Colapinto, NWC General Counsel and author of the NWC’s public rule making comment, discussed the proposed rule and OSC’s decision to withdraw with Federal News Radio. You can read the entire interview here.
Continue Reading OSC Withdraws Proposed Rule That May Have Had Unintended Consequences for Federal Contractors

On April 13, 2015, the House subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs heard testimony on whistleblower retaliation within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA). The hearing focused on the treatment of whistleblowers within the VA, particularly the types and levels of retaliation they experience when reporting problems.

Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner testified that “In several cases, the medical records of whistleblowers have been accessed and information in those records has apparently been used to attempt to discredit the whistleblowers.”  
Continue Reading House Holds Hearing Addressing Continued Whistleblower Retaliation Within VA

In January the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) proposed a rule that it claims would extend protections under the Civil Service Reform Act and the Whistleblower Protection Act to employees of federal contractors.  However, as my previous blog on this proposed rule stated, the unintended consequences of this rule may cause more harm than good for employees of federal contractors.

On Monday, March 23, the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) filed comments on the proposed rule. The submission by the NWC cautioned OSC stating “we believe that part of the proposed rule should be modified to ensure that employees of contractors are aware of their rights under the False Claims Act, and the part pertaining to disclosure of classified information should be withdrawn until further clarification about the use and handling of classified information is provided.”
Continue Reading Whistleblower Advocacy Group Warns OSC Proposed Rule for Federal Contractors May Cause Harm

Washington, D.C. January 22, 2015. Today the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) proposed a rule that it claims would extend protections under the Civil Service Reform Act and the Whistleblower Protection Act to employees of Federal contractors.  However, the unintended consequences of OSC’s proposed rule may cause more harm than good for employees of federal contractors.

This rule may cause confusion and interfere with other preexisting rights contractors have under other laws.  OSC should reconsider whether such a rule is even necessary given that employees of contractors already have stronger whistleblower protections under state and federal law than federal employees.  In any event, if the proposed rule is enacted it should be amended to make sure this confusion or weakening of other rights does not occur.    
Continue Reading OSC Proposed Rule For Federal Contractor Employees May Cause Confusion

As reported in today’s Washington Post, six current and former employees of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have filed a complaint against the FDA in U.S. District Court. The employees are seeking an injunction to stop the agency from illegally spying on employees’ private communications to Congress and other oversight agencies.
Continue Reading Whistleblowers Expose FDA’s Illegal Surveillance of Employees