In recent years, federal employees have become more familiar with their rights under the Whistleblower Protection Act and their ability to file complaints with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. Despite this heightened awareness of federal whistleblower protections, many federal employees are unfamiliar with whistleblower protections under other laws. These other provisions, like those under the Occupational Safety & Health Act and Consumer Financial Protection Act (Dodd-Frank), provide for additional protections, procedures, and remedies for federal employees that they may not have elsewhere.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been given the authority to receive complaints under 22 different whistleblower retaliation provisions. Some of these statutes prohibit retaliation against federal employees who make disclosures under a given act. They also provide for administrative remedies that may be different than which can be obtained from the Office of Special Counsel.
The additional protections may duplicate administrative procedures and remedies for federal whistleblowers. Because of this, federal employees often have to choose whether to file a complaint under the Whistleblower Protection Act with the Office of Special Counsel, seek protection under one of the alternatives, or both. In addition, different deadlines apply to the different statutes, and can be quite confusing. For this reason, we encourage federal employees who may have whistleblower claims to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. The following websites have additional information about whistleblower protection laws and applicable deadlines:
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Department of Labor
To discuss your possible whistleblower retaliation case, contact Kator, Parks, Weiser & Harris.