House Strengthens Whistleblower Protections for Federal Employees

On January 28, 2009, the House passed the Platts-Van Hollen amendment to its economic stimulus bill, which will enhance whistleblower protections for federal employees who report on waste, fraud and abuse of federal funds.  The Platts-Van Hollen amendment which is substantially similar to H.R. 985, grants federal employees the right to a jury trial in whistleblower retaliation actions and extends whistleblower protections to federal scientists, national security whistleblowers, and transportation security officers.  In addition, the amendment eliminates the loopholes that the Federal Circuit has read into the Whistleblower Protection Act.

To learn more about the The Employment Law Group® law firm’s representation of federal employees under the Whistleblower Protection Act, click here.

The Employment Law Group® Law Firm Calls for Stronger Whistleblower Protections

The Employment Law Group® law firm joins the Government Accountability Project (GAP) and 262 other organizations petitioning Congress to strengthen federal whistleblower protections.  Yesterday, GAP and other public interest groups delivered a letter to President Barack Obama and legislators stressing the need “to restore a credible Whistleblower Protection Act.”  In the letter, the organizations also articulated how crucial it is to have comprehensive whistleblower protections that would: 

  • Grant employees the right to a jury trial in federal court;
  • Specifically protect federal scientists who report efforts to alter, misrepresent, or suppress federal research;
  • Extend meaningful protections to FBI and intelligence agency whistleblowers;
  • Strengthen protections for federal contractors, as strong as those provided to DoD contractors and grantees in last year’s defense authorization legislation;
  • Extend meaningful protections to Transportation Security Officers (screeners);
  • Neutralize the government’s use of the “state secrets” privilege;
  • Bar the MSPB from ruling for an agency before whistleblowers have the opportunity to present evidence of retaliation;
  • Provide whistleblowers the right to be made whole, including compensatory damages;
  • Grant comparable due process rights to employees who blow the whistle in the course of a government investigation or who refuse to violate the law; and
  • Remove the Federal Circuit’s monopoly on precedent-setting cases.  

To read more about The Employment Law Group® law firm’s representation of federal employees under the Whistleblower Protection Act, click here.

Spartan Motors Pays $1.7 Million for False Claims Act Violations

On December 29, 2008, the Justice Department announced that Spartan Motors and its subsidiary, Spartan Chassis have agreed to pay the United States $1.7 Million to resolve allegations that it paid kickbacks to an employee of Force Protection Inc.  In the complaint, the United States alleged that Spartan paid the Force Protection employee approximately $100,000 in exchange for Spartan to receive a subcontract to provide chassis for armored vehicles for the U.S. Military.

The case was investigated and prosecuted as part of the National Procurement Fraud Initiative.  In October 2006, the Deputy Attorney General announced the formation of a National Procurement Fraud Task Force designed to promote the early detection, identification, prevention, and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with the increase in government contracting activity for national security and other government programs.  For more information about the False Claims Act, click here.