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Is retaliation against federal workers on the rise?

The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) recently reported an increase in the number of federal employees who have witnessed or been the subject of harassment, discrimination or retaliation. In 2010, the Federal News Network found 34% of federal employees reported these prohibited personnel practices (PPP). The agency’s most recent data shows an increase in these reports to 46%.

What is retaliation?

Retaliation occurs when an employer uses negative treatment to punish an employee who reports wrongdoing. The wrongdoing may be a report of discrimination, harassment or another workplace violation. Retaliation can take the form of termination from the position, a demotion, an unfavorable transfer, verbal abuse, increased scrutiny or other reprimand.

A spokesperson for the MSPB states the use of retaliation and other PPPs may be increasing … or employees may simply be more experienced at recognizing these events. Regardless, the agency has recommended agencies increase education efforts to help address this increase in PPPs.

Are there remedies for victims of retaliation?

The federal Whistleblower Protection Act makes it illegal for federal employers to discriminate against their workers in retaliation for reporting wrongdoing. Victims of retaliation within the federal workplace have options. Contact an attorney experienced in federal whistleblower protections to discuss your options.

Waiting is not a reasonable option. Hold the guilty party accountable for their wrongdoing and help deter future acts of retaliation. You can use the situation to help make a difference.

Are these cases successful?

Yes. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports federal retaliation is the most frequent discrimination complaint and finding within the federal sector.

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