Congress Strengthens Whistleblower Protections for Federal Employees

The other day President Trump signed into law Follow the Rules Act, which restricts a firm from taking a worker’s action versus a worker for declining an order that would need the worker break a law, guideline or guideline. The Act reverses the Federal Circuit’s 2016 choice in Rainey v. Merit Sys. Prot. Bd., 2016 WL 3165617 (Fed. Cir. June 7, 2016). Rainey held that Section 2302(b)( 9) secures a staff member’s rejection to comply with an order that would need the staff member to break a statute, but does not safeguard a staff member’s rejection to follow an order needing the staff member to breach a guideline or policy. The whistleblower because the case was eliminated of his obligations as a contracting officer at the State Department when he declined to follow an order to direct a specialist to rehire an ended subcontractor, an order that he thought would breach the Federal Acquisition Regulation. The MSPB rejected Dr. Rainey’s claim because the Supreme Court kept in Dep’ t of Homeland Sec. v. MacLean that the term law” implies a statute, not a guideline or policy.

The Follow the Rules Act supplies important security for federal staff members who are positioned in the challenging position of either performing an order that would require them to breach the law or dealing with a disciplinary action for insubordination.