January 21, 2015

Supreme Court Reaffirms Federal Whistleblower Protections

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court today reinforced important protections for federal workers who call attention to failures or wrongdoing in the government.  The Court ruled in a 7-2 decision in Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean that disclosures by federal whistleblowers are protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act unless the disclosure is specifically prohibited by law, not merely prohibited by agency rules.  Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon led a bipartisan, bicameral amicus brief last year, arguing that the Whistleblower Protection Act supersedes any rules or regulations created by federal agencies.

“Whistleblowers play an important role in fostering an efficient and accountable government. Federal employees should not be subjected to retaliation at work for trying to make the government more responsible to the people. This was the intent of the Whistleblower Protection Act, and I’m grateful that the Supreme Court reaffirmed these important principles,” Grassley said. 

“Today the Supreme Court stood up for federal employees who call out waste, fraud or wrongdoing at the agencies where they work, and made it harder for those agencies to retaliate against those brave enough to blow the whistle. Sen. Grassley, our House colleagues and I argued in our bipartisan amicus brief we filed in this case that federal agencies do not have unilateral discretion to decide what a whistleblower can or cannot reveal,” Wyden said.