Updates in Whistleblower News: New Committee, Enhanced Protections

Author: Marta Moakley, XpertHR Legal Editor

Developments affecting federal contractors, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforcement activities and public employees all confirm the continuing trend of expanding whistleblower protections.

  • On January 29, OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee (WPAC) held its first meeting. OSHA announced the inaugural WPAC appointees in December. Topics addressed at the meeting included ways to improve investigative and enforcement processes, as well as possible changes to OSHA regulations. +77 FR 76075.
  • The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, signed into law in December, closes certain perceived loopholes in whistleblower protections for federal employees and provides that an ombudsman position be established to facilitate employee training. The Office of Special Counsel, which enforces the Whistleblower Protection Act in addition to other laws, has coordinated agency training and will likely encounter a rise in whistleblower complaints over the coming months.
  • Section 828 of the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorizations Act (FY13 NDAA) expands retaliatory protections to any employees of federal contractors, subcontractors or grantees who report "gross mismanagement" or "gross waste" of federal funds. +112 P.L. 239.

The coming months may bring additional whistleblower protection expansion, especially at the state level. Government contractors, public employers and private employers may benefit from XpertHR's resources addressing this changing legal landscape.