by Brian Mahany
Buried in the Federal Register last week was an invitation to file amicus briefs in the current Merit Systems Protection Board case, Barbara King vs. Department of the Air Force. Partner Joe Bird and Mahany & Ertl are proud to represent Barbara in her pursuit of justice. At stake is the critical issue of whether the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) applies retroactively.
The issues presented are extremely important and affect hundreds of workers who made complaints before the December 27th, 2012 effective date of the new law. Congress has said that whistleblowers should receive compensatory damages if they are the victims of retaliation. Incredibly, some federal agencies are fighting the law.
Whistleblowers are often ostracized when they step forward and report wrongdoing. Some even lose their job. Congress has voiced their concern and responded with a stronger anti-retaliation measure. Incredibly, the very people charged with enforcing the laws – the federal government – don’t think the law should apply to them.
Quoting from the brief, “Retaliation for whistle blowing and related Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) discrimination is a total waste of tax payer money, particularly when the federal government is mandated to be a model employer for industry. Federal employees who report wrongdoing within the government are brave individuals who speak up to protect the public. Their reward is punishment: to become the subject of prohibited personnel practices pursuant to 5 U.S. C. 2302, which include locking the whistleblower in the vacuum of workplace isolation chambers when they report violations of law, rule and regulations. Federal management then demotes and/or strips the employee from their duties and in many cases, forces the whistleblowers out of federal service using trumped up or manufactured charges, all carefully crafted in order to hide the underlying whistleblower disclosures.
“Federal agency management must be sent a resounding message. They will obey the law and stop all discrimination and whistleblower retaliation.”
We are extremely proud to represent Barbara King and proud that our very own Joe Bird volunteers as Special Counsel to whistlewatch.org, a non profit advocacy group that supports whistleblowers.
Interested in helping? Visit whistlewatch.org and learn how you can help. Too busy to volunteer or write a supporting letter? The organization graciously accepts donations too. Just click on the Paypal donate button.
[Ed. Note: The complete text of our brief is available on the whistlewatch website.]
Mahany & Ertl is a boutique law firm that represents whistleblowers. Our speciality is federal and state false claims act cases. Unlike many law firms, we stand behind our whistleblowers if they encounter retaliation. We also donate a portion of our legal fees to advocacy groups and legal defense funds to help those without representation.
If you have information about a private party or company guilty of fraud or misuse of funds in a taxpayer supported program, please give us a call. Whistleblowers are often entitled to a portion of whatever is collected on behalf of the government. Examples of cases we handle include physicians submitting false billings to Medicare, contractors using foreign made goods in transportation projects and lenders committing fraud in federally insured home mortgage programs.
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Tax Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan; Portland, Maine; Minneapolis, Minnesota and San Francisco, California. Services available in many jurisdictions.
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