What are the Legal Prohibitions on Retaliation?

Federal Whistleblower Protection law prohibits retaliation when an employee or applicant for employment makes:

- a protected disclosure; (5 U.S.C. § 2302 (b)(8)), and/or

- if an employee: 

  • exercises any appeal, complaint or grievance rights to remedy retaliation for a protected disclosure, or testifies for or otherwise lawfully assists another person in such rights;
  • lawfully cooperates with or discloses information to an  Inspector General or the Special Counsel;
  • or refuses to obey an order that would require the individual to violate the law. (5 U.S.C. § 2302 (b)((9))

In order to fall within the scope of whistleblower protections, you must show that:

  • You made a protected disclosure (5 U.S.C. 2302 § (b)(8)) or engaged in a protected activity 2302 U.S. C. § (b)(9));
  • An acting official used authority to take, or fail to take (or threaten to take or fail to take), a personnel action against, or threatened to take such action against you;
  • An acting official had actual or constructive knowledge of the disclosure or activity; and
  • A disclosure or activity was a contributing factor in the personnel action

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