A recent report from the Government Accountability Office found that the Office of Special Counsel's backlog of whistleblower and prohibited personnel practices cases almost doubled between 2011 and 2016, even though the OSC has been actively working to reduce it. The GAO notes that the OSC increased the number of employees reviewing the cases and established a unit focusing on hybrid cases involving both a whistleblower disclosure and alleged retaliation. Nevertheless, the approximately 66-percent increase in cases filed since 2011 was enough to overcome those efforts and cause the backlog to increase.
A report by the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector general highlights a gender inequity problem in all four of the department's law enforcement components: The FBI, the DEA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshalls Service. The review found women to be underrepresented in operational positions generally and even more so in leadership. Unfortunately, male staff seemed unaware of the problem.
Last year's State of the Judiciary speech by Chief Justice John Roberts came shortly after 15 women accused veteran jurist Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit of ongoing sexual harassment and misconduct. Kozinski has since retired.
A case this week that was notable did not involved a federal employee or any administrative ruling by the Merit Systems Protection Board, but we thought it notable in how clearly it highlights some of the common problems that give rise to sexual harassment claims in the employment context.
When problems occur within a federal agency, we always hope the culture of the agency supports the reporting of the waste, fraud or gross mismanagement by the employees. A study by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) finds there is still work needed to achieve this goal.