Greater Protection for Contractor Whistleblowers Passes

FEDweek

Congress has passed and sent to President Obama for his expected signature S-795, expanding protections for contractor employees who make whistleblowing disclosures, which commonly involve issues involving federal employees and projects.

The bill will extend and make permanent current whistleblower protections to nearly all federal government grantees, subgrantees, contractors and subcontractors, as well as prohibit contractors from being reimbursed for legal costs of defending against retaliation claims by whistleblowers.

“We’ve got an enormous contracting workforce in the federal government, and we’ve got to make sure that all of our contractors have the same whistleblower protections as the government employees they work alongside,” said sponsor Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who in the new Congress will be the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The legislation follows a GAO report detailing retaliation and intimidation against whistleblowers by contractors at the Department of Energy, which she said has the largest civilian contracting workforce in the government.