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Federal employees given new whistle-blower protections

Federal employees in San Diego and throughout the entire country gained new job protections last week. The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Nov. 27.

Whistle-blower claims often involve workers who have been fired or retaliated against in the workplace as a result of reporting unethical conduct or other wrongdoings committed by employers. Although whistle-blower laws have protected some federal employees and other workers in the past, the new law will offer more protections to millions of federal workers in the country.

The new bill will hopefully encourage more federal employees to speak up when they believe the government has been involved in any unethical or illegal activity without having to worry about losing their jobs or facing discrimination and retaliation from coworkers or supervisors. The bill was signed by President Obama last week after the House of Representatives and the Senate both voted unanimously to pass the act.

According to the Government Accountability Project, supporters of the bill have been trying to increase federal employee protections when it comes to whistle-blower cases for 13 years now. However, legislation offering better protections for workers has been opposed over the past decade by government managers, the GAP claims.

In addition to offering better protections for federal employees who report fraud and other types of misconduct, the new bill also includes harsher penalties that will be imposed on federal agencies when whistle-blower protections are violated.

The law is meant to protect more workers, but federal employees could still face retaliation in the workplace for reporting misconduct. When this happens, workers may want to consider working with an attorney who will know how to protect their rights.

Source: Business Insurance, "Bill giving whistle-blower protections to federal employees signed into law," Judy Greenwald, Nov. 28, 2012