Whistleblower Protection Act

Contributor(s): Ben Cole

The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 (WPA) is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from retaliatory action for voluntarily disclosing information about dishonest or illegal activities occurring at a government organization.

The law prohibits a federal agency from taking action, or threatening to take action, against an employee or applicant for disclosing information that he or she believes violated a law, compliance rules or other regulation. The disclosed information could include reports of mismanagement wrongdoing, the waste of funds, an abuse of authority, and/or a potential risk to public health or safety. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel has jurisdiction over allegations of federal whistleblower retaliation and investigates federal whistleblower complaints.

In 2009, Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) introduced the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) to strengthen the legislation. WPEA became law in November 2012.


This was last updated in November 2012

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