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From the courtroom: Take care when disciplining whistleblowers

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in Centerpiece,Employment Law,Human Resources

The federal Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) forbids federal employers from retaliating against an employee whose workplace complaint amounts to reporting potential employer wrongdoing. Under the WPA, the employer must show it would have taken the same action against the employee even if he had not blown the whistle.

Recent case: Enrico worked for the U.S. Department of the Interior as a probationary maintenance worker. He contacted OSHA to complain that he and others had to make unsafe entries into confined spaces.

Enrico was let go at the end of his probationary period.

He sued, arguing he had lost his job in retaliation for contacting OSHA.

The court said the department had to show it would have discharged Enrico even if he had not contacted OSHA. The court said factors it would consider included whether:

  • The department had strong evidence to support its discharge decision
  • There was any motive for agency offi...(register to read more)

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