President Barack Obama signed the new whistleblower protections into law, called the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. The act affords greater protection to federal employees who expose fraud, waste and abuse in government operations.
The term ‘whistle blower’ was coined by political activist Ralph Nader in the early 70’s. The act has been 13-years in to progress and finally ties the loose ends and closes several loopholes created by court rulings, which removed protections for federal whistle-blowers. One loophole specified that whistle-blowers were only protected when they were the first to report misconduct.
Apart from the most prominent and salient feature of giving the informers protection, here is what the law is all about:
1. The law also makes it easier to punish supervisors who try to retaliate against the government workers.
2. It gives protections certain employees, including government scientists who challenge censorship as well as workers at the Transportation Security Administration, who provide airport security, would be covered under the law for the first time.
3. It would clarify that whistleblowers have the right to communicate with Congress.
4. It will make it easier to discipline those responsible, by modifying the burden of proof required when taking action against those trying to punish whistle-blowers.
5. The Office of Special Counsel, which was established to protect federal employees, would no longer be liable for attorney fees of government managers if the office does not prevail in a disciplinary action.
6. It can also suspend the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals' sole jurisdiction to review decisions in whistle-blower cases.