AFGE, Coalition Urge Obama to Strengthen Whistleblower Protections

American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) President John Gage and a coalition of public-interest groups urged President Obama to push for stronger federal whistleblower rights, according to documents posted Jan. 25 on the Government Accountability Project (GAP) Web site. In a letter sent to Obama just before the inauguration, the coalition asked him to issue a presidential directive mandating zero tolerance for retaliation against whistleblowers, and create a plan to restore exiled whistleblowers purged from the federal workforce because of their actions. “The current Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) has failed to protect the employees who need it most,” the letter said. “The ugliest forms of retaliation and harassment are routinely rubber-stamped by a system that traps honest employees, who are repeatedly denied justice after bravely exposing wrongdoing.” Specifically, the groups sought Obama’s support for a congressional overhaul of the WPA, which would include increased free-speech protections and full access to the courts for complaints that could not be resolved administratively. They also asked Obama to issue an executive order establishing a program to review cases involving whistleblowers who had lost their jobs, and restore them to the federal workforce if they had been wrongly driven out. To see more, go to: www.whistleblower.org/doc/2008/Obama%20Letter.pdf.

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