Whistleblower Protection Coordination Act Becomes Law
On June 25, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Whistleblower Protection Coordination Act (“WPCA”), which permanently reauthorized a “Whistleblower Protection Coordinator” at each federal agency’s respective Office of Inspector General.
This position was formerly referred to as the Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman, but the program was “subject to a five-year sunset and expired on November 27, 2017,” according to the Special Counsel, Henry Kerner. In a press release from the Office of Special Counsel, Special Counsel Kerner remarked that “whistleblowers will now have a dedicated official permanently at each agency to educate the workforce and work with OSC to protect against retaliation.” The Coordinator will, according to the WPCA, educate agency employees about “the means by which employees may seek review of any allegation of reprisal, including the roles of the Office of the Inspector General, the Office of Special Counsel, the Merit Systems Protection Board, and any other relevant entities,” as well as provide “general information about the timeliness of such cases, the availability of any alternative dispute mechanisms, and avenues for potential relief.”
The Coordinator will also, according to the WPCA, assist the Inspector General in “promoting the timely and appropriate handling and consideration of protected disclosures and allegations of reprisal,” and in “facilitating communication and coordination with the Special Counsel, the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, the establishment, Congress, and any other relevant entity regarding the timely and appropriate handling and consideration of protected disclosures, allegations of reprisal, and general matters regarding the implementation and administration of whistleblower protection laws, rules, and regulations.”
The WPCA also obligates other entities to work with the newly established Coordinators at each agency, including the provision of “direct access to the Inspector General” for the Coordinators. Additionally, the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (“CIGIE”) is tasked by the law with facilitating the work of the Coordinators, as well as developing “best practices for coordination and communication in promoting the timely and appropriate handling and consideration of protected disclosures, allegations of reprisal, and general matters regarding the implementation and administration of whistleblower protection laws, in accordance with Federal law.”
Read the full Act: the Whistleblower Protection Coordination Act.
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