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Protecting whistleblowers against retaliation

Federal agencies in New York and across the country have received updates to previous instructions they received on whistleblower protections. They've also been provided with new instructions and information on how these new guidelines should be implemented with the goal of protecting whistleblowers.

One change involves modifying or enacting educational provisions instructing employees about their rights to be whistleblowers as well as instructing employers and other individuals in positions of power about prohibited personnel practices. These changes in regulations come as a result of laws that were enacted by President Donald Trump at the end of the 2017 calendar year.

According to the Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, federal employees who blow the whistle on individuals who are engaged in fraud, abuse, or the waste of federal funds are given additional protection. The goal is to increase federal employees' awareness of the protections that they have as well as employers' and supervisors' responsibility for their actions. There is now an increased sense of responsibility and focus on discipline for those in supervisory positions who intimidate whistleblowers or who attempt to retaliate against them.

As a result of these changes in the law, federal departments and agencies are being asked to review the nondisclosure policies they have employees sign. This review extends to forms and other agreements that would violate an employee's freedom to serve as a whistleblower. These adjustments to the law are designed to fill in any gaps that exist in previous guidelines to increase the accountability of employers that retaliate against whistleblowers.

Employment law attorneys could help people whose employers retaliate against them for asserting their rights. This behavior could include discrimination against employees because of their race, gender, religion or nation of origin.

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