Whistleblower Protection History

Congress initially addressed whistleblower rights and protections for Federal employees as part of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.

These protections were updated and strengthened in the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 (WPA), which provides Federal employees with very specific rights and protections if they “blow the whistle” on waste, fraud, and abuse in the Federal government and negative or adverse actions are taken against them for doing so.

Congress wanted Federal employees to speak up, without fear of retaliation, if they saw or were otherwise aware of fraud, misconduct, or other wrongdoing by Federal officials, employees, contractors, or grantees.

The WPEA broadened the scope of some of these rights and protections, and requires certain Inspectors General to designate a Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman. 

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