Law Firm Representing Veterans Affairs Whistleblowers
Whistleblower law firm Zuckerman Law represents Veterans Affairs’ whistleblowers seeking relief for retaliation under the Whistleblower Protection Act. Whistleblower laws prohibit the Veterans Affairs Administration from retaliating against VA whistleblowers that have disclosed:
- a violation of any law, rule, or regulation;
- gross mismanagement;
- a gross waste of funds;
- an abuse of authority; or
- a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
VA whistleblowers can obtain a wide range of remedies or damages for whistleblower retaliation, including lost wages, attorney’s fees, equitable relief (e.g., reinstatement, rescinding a suspension, modifying a performance evaluation, etc.) and uncapped emotional distress damages).
Remedies or Damages for Violations of Whistleblower Protection Act
Whistleblower retaliation can derail a career and it is important to have an effective advocate in your corner. Zuckerman Law has obtained relief for whistleblowers in actions before federal administrative agencies and in federal and state courts. Under the Whistleblower Protection Act, a prevailing whistleblower can recover lost wages, attorney’s fees, equitable relief (e.g., reinstatement, rescinding a suspension, modifying a performance evaluation, etc.) and uncapped compensatory damages (emotional distress damages). In addition, a whistleblower can recover fees, costs, or damages reasonably incurred due to a retaliatory investigation.
Recently Zuckerman Law secured full relief for a VA whistleblower, including full reimbursement of attorney’s fees and a favorable reassignment.
Click here to read more federal employee whistleblower rights and protections.
Enhanced Protection for VA Whistleblowers
In 2017, Congress enacted additional protection for VA whistleblowers. In particular, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 provides:
Whistleblower Protection.-(1) In the case of a covered individual seeking corrective action (or on behalf of whom corrective action is sought) from the Office of Special Counsel based on an alleged prohibited personnel practice described in section 2302(b) of title 5, the Secretary may not remove, demote, or suspend such covered individual under subsection (a) without the approval of the Special Counsel under section 1214(f) of title 5.
(2) In the case of a covered individual who has made a whistleblower disclosure to the Assistant Secretary for Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, the Secretary may not remove, demote, or suspend such covered individual under subsection (a) until-
(A) in the case in which the Assistant Secretary determines to refer the whistleblower disclosure under section 323(c)(1)(D) of this title to an office or other investigative entity, a final decision with respect to the whistleblower disclosure has been made by such office or other investigative entity; or
(B) in the case in which the Assistant Secretary determines not to the refer the whistleblower disclosure under such section, the Assistant Secretary makes such determination.
Guide to the Whistleblower Protection Act
Whistleblower attorneys Eric Bachman and Jason Zuckerman, former senior officials at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, have released a guide for federal employee whistleblowers titled The Whistleblower Protection Act: Empowering Federal Employees to Root Out Waste, Fraud and Abuse and is available for download by clicking here.
The goal of the guide is to inform federal employees about the whistleblower rights and protections available under the Whistleblower Protection Act, as amended by the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act and the Follow the Rules Act. This guide provides an overview of the WPA and offers practical tips for navigating some of the challenging issues that often arise in whistleblower cases. Topics covered include:
- What Disclosures are Protected Under the Whistleblower Protection Act?
- Does the Whistleblower Protection Act Protect Employees Who Exercise an Appeal or Grievance Right?
- Prohibited Forms of Whistleblower Retaliation
- Proving Knowledge of Protected Whistleblowing
- Proving Causation
- What is an Agency’s Burden to Avoid Liability Once the Whistleblower Has Proved Causation?
- Seeking Relief from Retaliation
- Election of Remedies
- Can OSC Seek a Stay of a Personnel Action?
- Damages or Remedies for Retaliation
- Gag Orders and Non-Disclosure Agreements
Co-authors Eric Bachman and Jason Zuckerman have represented employees in Whistleblower Protection Act claims and served in senior leadership positions at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the federal agency that enforces the Whistleblower Protection Act.
Experienced Whistleblower Lawyers
The whistleblower lawyers at Zuckerman Law have substantial experience working on Whistleblower Protection Act cases.
- Eric Bachman recently served as Deputy Special Counsel, Litigation and Legal Affairs, at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the federal agency charged with protecting whistleblowers in the federal government. During his tenure at OSC, he spearheaded an initiative to combat whistleblower retaliation at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the number of favorable actions for whistleblowers increased by over 50% agency-wide.
- Jason Zuckerman served as Senior Legal Advisor to the Special Counsel at OSC, where he worked on implementation of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act and several high-profile investigations.
- Dallas Hammer has successfully represented VA whistleblowers, drafted a brief resulting in a rare order enjoining the VA terminating a physician while her discrimination claim was pending.
To learn about whistleblower rights and protections for federal employees, click here or call us today at 202-262-8959.