A National Law Journal article titled “How Lawyers Would Advise the Anonymous NYT Op-Ed Writer (and the White House),” quotes Jason Zuckerman about the advice he would give to a whistleblower in the White House.
Zuckerman noted thatif the anonymous author of the New York Times op-ed is a political appointee, then the whistleblower will not be protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act and would lack a remedy for any retaliation they experience:
“Political appointees are not protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act and the writer—assuming he or she is a political appointee—would not be able to file a whistleblower claim, Zuckerman said.
Civil servants, on the other hand, could have a potential retaliation claim that could be brought to the U.S. Office for Special Counsel, an independent agency that enforces the federal whistleblower law and other prohibited personnel practices.
Zuckerman said the NYT op-ed writer should be prepared for what he called the “counter-punch and counter-attack. Think about whether there are any skeletons in your closet and get ready for negative press.”
He said whistleblowers can disclose concerns to oversight committees in Congress, but he cautioned that the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate and U.S. House would give no assurances of confidentiality. He predicted more whistleblowers will come forward if Democrats win control of the House in the midterms.”
For additional information about the Whistleblower Protection Act, see our guide: The Whistleblower Protection Act: Empowering Federal Employees to Root Out Waste, Fraud and Abuse.
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Zuckerman Law has represented whistleblowers before the Office of Special Counsel, Offices of Inspectors General, and Congressional oversight committees. The firm is uniquely qualified to represent whistleblowers in the federal government because two of the firm’s attorneys served in senior roles at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.
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. Retaliatory investigations can take many forms, such as unwarranted referrals for criminal or civil investigations or extraordinary reviews of time and attendance records.
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