FEDERAL EMPLOYEE WHISTLEBLOWERS SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO FEDERAL COURT REVIEW:
Currently, federal employees cannot have their whistleblower cases heard in federal district court, but instead must go before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). The MSPB, whose three members are appointed by the President, reviews the whistleblower cases of federal employees. However, it has not had a quorum to hear cases since before President Trump entered office. The Board is supposed to have three members and needs a quorum of two to act; as of March 1, 2019, there is no Board. As a result, there is now a backlog of over 1900 cases. The Whistleblower Protection Blog has written about the issue; read it here.
One of those backlogged cases is that of Army Corp of Engineers whistleblower, Dr. Toni Savage. Dr. Savage is stuck in a legal limbo as the MSPB cannot issue a final decision in any whistleblower cases until President Trump appoints a new member.
A grassroots campaign to demand that Congress pass legislation to permit federal employee whistleblowers to file their cases in federal district court was launched by the National Whistleblower Center. The NWC issued an Action Alert calling out Trump’s failure to nominate members to the MSPB, as a denial of federal employee whistleblower’s, such as Dr. Savage, basic due process rights.
“Without court access, federal employee whistleblower rights are non-existent. The MSPB administrative process, even before the current crisis brought on by the lack of quorum, was criticized by every major whistleblower advocacy group in the nation,” said National Whistleblower Center Chairman of the Board Stephen M. Kohn. He continued, “now with the lack of quorum and year-long backlog, the broken system is simply not fixable. Federal employee whistleblowers need what other whistleblower laws provide, access to federal court and independent judges.”