WASHINGTON, D.C. | June 24, 2021 — In a letter received by National Whistleblower Center (NWC) today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed its commitment to educate agency employees and personnel about the rights and protections granted to whistleblowers. The letter came in response to NWC’s letter sent to the EPA urging it to implement educational programming to recognize National Whistleblower Day on July 30th.
The EPA is the second agency to reply affirmatively to the letters NWC sent to the leaders of each executive office and agency to request their support for National Whistleblower Day. In the letters, NWC asked agencies to honor whistleblowers by informing employees, contractors, other personnel, and members of the public about the legal right to “blow the whistle” and acknowledge the critical contributions of whistleblowers on July 30th. In their response, the EPA committed to do those things and added that the agency is “committed to educating employees about the rights and protections granted to whistleblowers.” This response is particularly significant given NWC’s commitment to both federal and environmental whistleblowers.
The letter comes just under a month after the May 2021 response from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General to NWC confirming the agency’s commitment to implement educational programming around National Whistleblower Day.
NWC Executive Director Siri Nelson said, “We commend the EPA, particularly Administrator Michael Regan and Director Mara Kamen, for the agency’s efforts to recognize the role of whistleblowers and consistently inform employees of their rights as whistleblowers. By showing that it is possible for large agencies to celebrate whistleblowers and educate employees about whistleblowing, the EPA and HHS have given other agencies a strong example to follow and their responses signal the profound shift towards the unanimous protection of whistleblowers across our government.”
Widespread acknowledgement of the importance of whistleblowers across the federal government is a crucial step needed to change the culture of retaliation against whistleblowers that persists today. To make lasting change, NWC calls for a permanent National Whistleblower Day to ensure the federal government recognizes the contributions of whistleblowers on July 30th every year.
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