Whistleblower Protection Act tweaked

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2017 | Employee Discrimination

The key to giving a good presentation we know is to tell your listeners what you will tell them; tell them; and then tell them what you told them. Aristotle is credited with developing that formula two millennia ago, though his phrasing was different. The standard still seems to apply, and some observers might say that it has leaked into other areas, including the passing of laws.

Last month, Congress displayed a level of bipartisanship that is unusual these days and passed the Follow the Rules Act. Many in Texas and across the country are hailing the move, calling it of critical value for the protection of government whistleblowers.

New law closes a loophole

Federal law is already in place for protecting government workers against retaliation. It’s called the Whistleblower Protection Act. In the eyes of some, the Follow the Rules Act might seem like a repeat of the message. However, legal experts say the measure is important because it closes a significant loophole in the WPA. The Follow the Rules Act specifically protects workers who refuse to follow orders that violate an agency’s rules and regulations.

To be clear, the WPA bans retaliatory action against employees who refuse an order if it violates the law. But the Supreme Court ruled recently that agency rules and regulations aren’t the same as law, so the Follow the Rules Act amends the WPA to clarify that rules and regulations enjoy equal footing with the law.

The measure is now on the president’s desk. How he will deal with it is unclear. President Trump is known to want to stop leaks within his administration, but he also is on record encouraging whistleblowing when it suits his agenda.

Considering the near unanimous support shown for the law by Congress, experienced Washington observers say it’s unlikely the president will try to veto it.