Parkinson v. Dept. of Justice

In 2018, the NWC joined an amicus, or friend of the court, brief filed at the Supreme Court. The brief was in support of John Parkinson, an FBI whistleblower. The amicus brief was also filed on behalf of three former FBI employees, Michael German, Robert Kobus, Jane Turner, and Dr. Frederic Whitehurst, reported FBI misconduct and consequentially experienced retaliatory behavior by the FBI.

The case focused on a review of the Federal Circuit’s decision “denying veterans preference-eligible FBI employees the right to raise whistleblowing as an affirmative defense in an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board.” Unlike other colleagues, FBI officials were not allowed to use the MSPB as an avenue for redress. Thus, this case concerns “a key protection for employees at the Federal Bureau of Investigation who blow the whistle on misconduct.”

As argued by the amicus brief, “the Federal Circuit’s decision exposes preference-eligible whistleblowers to flawed procedures simply because they work at the FBI.” The brief references a GAO report that warns that this policy “could deny whistleblowers access to recourse, could permit retaliatory activity to go uninvestigated, and may have a chilling effect on other potential whistleblowers.”

Though the confidential nature of the FBI requires more discretion in reporting and action than some other agencies, regardless it is a government agency that is obligated to work with honesty and integrity for the American people. Thus, by denying FBI employees the right and protection to blow the whistle on misconduct, corruption within the American government is not only hidden, but enabled.

The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) often submits amici curiae briefs in support of whistleblowers. To learn more about NWC involvement in other cases, click here. To find out more about what NWC is doing to protect whistleblower rights, click here.

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