Government Accountability

Whistleblower Protection

 

The Government Accountability Project defines “whistleblower” as an employee who exercises from speech rights to challenge corporate and government abuses of power that betray the public trust. Blowing the whistle may include:

 

  • reporting wrongdoing or a violation of the law to the proper authorities such as a supervisor, a hotline or an Inspector General;

  • refusing to participate in workplace wrongdoing;

  • testifying in a legal proceeding;

  • leaking evidence of wrongdoing to the media.

 

Common Cause has advocated for stronger whistleblower laws to protect employees from retribution for their courageous acts and to encourage employees to come forward with important information about malfeasance in government. In the 1980s, Common Cause joined with other organizations to help pass the Whistleblower Act of 1989, which was amended in 1994, and more recently has joined a coalition seeking to amend and strengthen that Act. That Act spells out the rights of federal employees who uncover waste or abuse in federal agncies.  But the law has been severely weakened and barely enforced since its enactment.

 


 

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