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Whistleblowers Mobilize to Address EEOC Failings at 8th Annual Whistleblower Summit and Film Festival

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“The EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations’ failure to apply fairly Federal EEO complaint guidelines undermines the Notification and Federal Employees Anti-Discrimination and Retaliation Act and spurs a health crisis within the Federal workforce.”

Advocacy groups and Whistleblowers will gather at the upcoming 2019 Annual Whistleblower Summit and Film Festival. The gathering, which will take place in Washington, DC during July 29th-August 1st, 2019, provides a meaningful “mutual support network” for whistleblowers and advocates across the country.

The theme of this year’s Summit is True North—Persevering in the Pursuit of Justice. It will feature a variety of events, film screenings, and panel discussions to empower “truth-tellers” who create a better world for all people to thrive.

The Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C), a 2019 Summit committee member, will host a panel to address the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) flaws. “The EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations’ failure to apply “fairly” the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint guidelines undermines the Notification and Federal Employees Anti-Discrimination and Retaliation Act (No FEAR Act). It also spurs a health crisis within the Federal workforce,” said Tanya Ward Jordan, President of the Coalition For Change, Inc.(C4C) and Author of 17 Steps: A Federal Employee’s Guide For Tackling Workplace Discrimination.

The USDA Coalition of Minority Employees will host a separate panel to address the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) harmful workplace culture. “Wrongful firings, reprisal, and intimidation are out of control at USDA. It has been this way administration after administration, The EEOC fails to hold government agencies within Agriculture accountable for unlawful acts against minority farmers, especially Black farmers, and USDA employees.” said Mr. Lawrence Lucas, President Emeritus of the USDA Coalition of Minority Employees.

In addition to panels hosted by the C4C and the USDA Coalition, the Government Accountability Project will host a panel on the role of the Office of Special Counsel. The 2019 Summit event organizers, Michael McCray, Esq., and Marcel Reid, have arranged for an assembly of whistleblowers to cover additional panels covering topics such as: Guardianship, Surviving Whistleblowing, Working with Congress, Is Your Story a Book?, Working With Media, and Blackballing Minority Financial Institutions. Whistleblowers, advocates and members of the civil and human rights community are invited to participate in the free conference. For more information visit https://www.whistleblowersummit.com/

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The Coalition For Change, Inc.(C4C) is a member of the Make It Safe Coalition. The C4C, a proactive non-profit civil rights organization and support network, incorporated in Washington, D.C., on January 22, 2009. Members devote their time, talent and resources addressing racial injustice and reprisal in Federal employment. The C4C is comprised of former and present Federal employees who have been harmed due to racial discrimination and/or reprisal.

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Wyden Statement on the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Whistleblower Protection Act

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April 10, 2019

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Mr. President, thirty years ago today, the Whistleblower Protection Act was signed into law. To call it a triumph doesn’t do justice to the sheer number of years and people it took on both sides of the aisle to overcome numerous obstacles and enact federal protections for federal government employees who step forward and do what we all should do: expose wrongdoings in order to hold government officials and agencies accountable.

Congressional efforts to protect whistleblowers date back to at least 1912 with the enactment of the Lloyd-La Follette Act of 1912. This act guaranteed the right of federal employees to communicate with members of Congress without the oversight of their employer, and prohibited compensation to managers who retaliated against employees attempting to disclose whistleblower matters.

However, empowering Federal employees to speak up and speak the truth was, and continues to be, an ongoing struggle, one that has often pitted Congress against the Executive Branch. When President George H.W. Bush signed the Whistleblower Protection Act into law that April morning in 1989, it came after his predecessor President Ronald Reagan had vetoed a similar bill despite the fact that it had been unanimously adopted by both the Senate and the House.

The Whistleblower Protection Act, itself, was first introduced by Representative Pat Schroeder of Colorado as an amendment to the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 and then as a stand-alone bill in 1982. The principal purpose of the bill was to block retaliation against employees who came forward, a never-ending problem. The bill would have allowed “a person claiming to be aggrieved by a prohibited personnel practice to: (1) bring a civil action in a U.S. district court against the employee or agency involved (respondent); or (2) seek corrective action through the (Merit Systems Protection) Board.”

While that particular bill ultimately died after receiving unfavorable comments from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Merit Systems Protection Board, which adjudicates whistleblower complaints, its failure didn’t deter our colleagues from persevering. More

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