Pass the Civil Rights Tax Relief Act of 2011
In 1996, Congress stripped whistleblowers (along with all other victims of civil rights violations) of their right to be "made whole" after suffering emotional distress or loss of reputation. In Murphy v. IRS, attorneys for the National Whistleblowers Center fought the constitutionality of this law all the way to the Supreme Court. In April 2008, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, so now we are asking Congress to help whistleblowers who have suffered these damages.
Both Houses of Congress currently have bills pending that, if passed, would allow whistleblowers to be awarded tax-exempt compensatory damages. Another key component of the new law would allow illegally-fired whistleblowers and civil rights plaintiffs to pay taxes on back-pay at the tax rates of the years when the income would have been earned.
The bills are collectively known as the Civil Rights Tax Relief Act of 2011 (CRTRA). Representatives John Lewis (D-GA) and James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced the CRTRA as H.R. 3195 in the House on October 13, 2011. On the same day, Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the CRTRA in the Senate, where it is known as S. 1781. The Senate and House bills are identical, excluding the date they become effective.
The National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) provides more information about these bills.
Stephen Kohn of the National Whistleblowers Center discusses federal laws that cover whistleblowers.
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