WASHINGTON (AP) – Millions of people who work for federal contractors or grant recipients will have new legal whistle-blower protections under legislation sent to President Barack Obama on Friday.
Provisions in the $633 billion defense bill passed by the Senate are designed to aid workers who are fired or harassed at the government’s direction after exposing fraud, waste and abuse. The bill will allow them to go to inspectors general _ federal internal watchdogs _ or the courts to try to stop harassment or get their jobs back.
Defense Department contractors, subcontractors and grant recipients will receive permanent protection.
In a four-year experiment, the protection also will apply to all other government contract employees and grant recipients while congressional investigators study how the system is working.
The exception is contractors working for intelligence agencies, who will not be covered.
The Government Accountability Project, which represents whistle-blowers, estimated the legislation would protect 12 million people. The passage comes a month after Obama signed a law that afforded greater protection to 2 million federal employees who become whistle-blowers.
Both measures protect disclosures of information that whistle-blowers reasonably believe are evidence of illegality, gross waste, gross mismanagement, abuse of authority or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
Aggrieved whistle-blowers under the new legislation can file a “retaliation” complaint with agency inspectors general, who can investigate and make recommendations to heads of agencies.
If an agency declines to provide requested relief within 210 days, the whistle-blower may go to U.S. district court and have the case decided by a jury. Whistle-blowers would have three years to take action.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments
- Here’s why Gaydos went tankless with his water heater
- Bocce ball and basketball: How you can help Arizona's Special Olympics athletes
- Tips on building the best wine room in Arizona
- Avoid the nightmare: 6 tips to choose a great contractor
- Breast cancer: Improved testing and treatments means more survivors
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode
- Reading glasses could be a thing of the past
- 6 cool ways teachers are using technology in the classroom
- Emerging tech jobs in Phoenix and how to get one in 2017
- 4 top treatments athletes use for pain
- Emergency! What to do when bathrooms flood
- Arizona kids in crisis: How you can help
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains