Readers may be aware that there are federal laws in place to protect whistleblowers that come forth to report corruption or illegal activity. As one man found out there are exceptions to who may be protected by the laws. The man was fired while working as an investigator for the House Select Committee on Benghazi, allegedly when he would not narrow his focus to the State Department and former Secretary of State Clinton. The 1989 Whistleblower Protection Act does not protect Congress. Accordingly, as a Congressional staffer, he was exempted from the law.
This exemption does not mean that the man does not have legal recourse. Because he is a veteran intelligence officer with the U.S. Air Force Reserves his lawyer indicates that he will file a lawsuit that alleges military discrimination. Specifically, he plans to allege he was fired in retaliation for taking a leave from his job twice earlier this year, because the Air Force called him up for active duty.
While this man has another legal option, his exemption from the whistleblower protections highlights what many deem to be an inexcusable loophole. Those in favor of whistleblower protections for Congress indicate it could lead to the exposure of corruption by those working on Capitol Hill. At least one senator has repeatedly sought to have that protection extended to Congress. Year after year, the Congressional Whistleblower Protection Act has failed to gain any traction however.
As this case illustrates, seeking whistleblower protection can be complicated. Accordingly, it is in the best interest of those who find themselves in need of that protection to contact an employment law attorney who understands the law and how it is applied.