By Stephen Kohn, Executive Director, National Whistleblowers Center
The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) may move through Congress in the coming days, and it contains many important reforms that will help federal employees. However, both the House (H.R. 3289) and Senate (S. 743) versions still have one provision that will significantly harm whistleblowers.
This destructive provision gives the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) summary judgment power for the first time. The problem with this power is that the Board’s Administrative Judges can dismiss a federal employee whistleblower’s case without even hearing it. Summary judgment will not enhance whistleblower protections, but it will radically increase costs for the whistleblower, undermine the ability to reach a settlement, delay final decisions, and result in untold hardships for federal employees. This provision must be removed.
In 1978, Congress rejected giving MSPB summary judgment authority based on the destructive impact it would have on federal employee rights. Summary judgment authority was slipped into the WPEA without public debate. It must be removed.
Together we can make sure that summary judgment authority is not included in the final legislation. But we need your help.
With the help of our Action Alert Network, we have fixed other provisions in the WPEA. Together we were successful in fixing provisions that others said could not be fixed. We need to make one more change, and we are counting on you to help us in this final push. A fuller analysis of the issues can be found on my blog here.
CEO Note: Please join me and my colleagues, the National Whistleblowers Center and MSPBWatch.net to stop the Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) from gaining summary judgment powers that will harm whistleblower rights of federal workers. Click on the link below to send a message to your member of Congress!