October 25, 2021

Volume XI, Number 298

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October 22, 2021

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President Trump Revives Protections for Administrative Agency Whistleblowers by Passing the Whistleblower Protection Coordination Act

On June 25, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Whistleblower Protection Coordination Act (the “Act”), permanently reinstating the Whistleblower Ombudsman Program, which was created in 2012 to encourage employees of federal government administrative agencies to report wrongdoing but expired on November 27, 2017 due to a five-year sunset clause.

The Act, which Congress passed with bipartisan support, reauthorizes a “Whistleblower Protection Coordinator” at each administrative agency’s Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) to educate agency employees about their rights to blow the whistle on suspected wrongdoing and the remedies available to them should their employers retaliate against them for doing so. Additionally, the Coordinator is tasked with ensuring that the OIG handles such whistleblower complaints promptly and thoroughly and coordinates with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, Congress, and other agencies to address the allegations appropriately.

While the Act is specific to federal government employees and has no impact on the anti-whistleblower retaliation protections of the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Acts, it is notable that the Trump administration passed the Act rather than letting the Whistleblower Ombudsman Program remain expired. This executive action suggests that the Trump administration does not currently appear to be intent upon rolling back legislative efforts to encourage employees to report suspected legal violations and to protect those that do from retaliation by their employers.

This post was written with assistance from Cynthia Joo, a 2018 Summer Associate at Epstein Becker Green.

©2021 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 180
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About this Author

john f fullerton III, epstein becker green, new york, financial services
Member

JOHN F. FULLERTON III is a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green, where he co-leads the Financial Services strategic industry group.

Mr. Fullerton's practice currently focuses on representing employers in whistleblower compliance and litigation defense in retaliation cases brought pursuant to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Dodd-Frank Act, the False Claims Act, as well as state law whistleblower statutes. In this capacity, he has represented a variety of publicly traded...

212-351-4580
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