"Federal managers need to abide by merit system principles, even when there is outside pressure to retaliate. [...] It's vital that federal managers protect employees who anger outside interests when they uncover potential wrongdoing as a part of their job."
Whistleblower = a person who informs on a person or organization engaged in an illicit activity
It is not uncommon for federal government supervisors who are the subject of an anonymous IG investigation to harbor ill will against the employees whom they believe blew the whistle on them. And we frequently encounter cases where federal employees believe they have been targeted by their supervisor because the supervisor believes that the employee complained about them to the IG when in fact the employee did not.
Our client, Leticia Alonso, was formerly employed as a Medical Support Assistant Supervisor in the GI Department at the Minneapolis VA. In or around May 2014, she began reporting that GI consults were not being scheduled in a timely manner. Patients were to be contacted within 7 days and an appointment was to be scheduled within 14 days from the date of referral by a physician. Instead, Ms. Alonso reported consults were severely overdue, one as old as 46 days overdue. She also reported that she was being instructed to cancel patient appointments and enter false comments into the VA system, such as patient declined appointment, or no response from patient, when in fact the patient had never been called about the appointment and that certain more symptomatic patients were being placed on a secret waitlist instead of in the official VA system. Ms. Alonso alleges that as a result of her reports, on June 4, 2014, she received a notice of proposed removal and was subsequently removed from service on July 1, 2014.
A few weeks ago, an important whistleblower protection proposal was passed by the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI). These protections are detailed in the Intelligence Authorization Act for the 2014 fiscal year. This committee passage represents an important development in the area of workers' rights. For while many workers are protected by law when they seek to file whistleblower claims, intelligence workers have not consistently been granted access to this set of legal protections.
Recently, the city of New York agreed to pay $70 million to settle allegations that it submitted false claims to the Medicaid program. Documents from a federal court in Manhattan detail that the city admitted that its Human Resources Administration had reauthorized 24-hour personal care services for some Medicaid recipients without obtaining independent medical reviews or authorization required by medical professionals.
In our previous post, we began looking generally at the new SEC whistleblower reward program. We left off with a few comments about the reaction to the new program among corporations.
As we have mentioned on this blog before, the SEC recently established a whistleblower reward program to encourage knowledgeable insiders to report securities violations to the SEC. The program goes into effect on August 12
Under federal law, employees are protected from retaliation after filing a complaint alleging a violation.
According to the executive director of the National Whistleblowers Center in Washington D.C., the most important factors in cases where ordinary people step up to report fraud and corruption are who you tell and what you say.