On November 27, 2012, President Barack Obama signed into law the Whistleblower Protection Enforcement Act, a law that provides federal whistleblowers new and expanded protections. The law upgrades existing safeguards for federal employees who witness and report fraud, abuse, or waste within the federal government.
The new law lowers the standard of proof whistleblowers must meet in order to receive protection and closes judicially-created loopholes that were added to the original 1989 Whistleblower Protection Act. It also makes it easier for the Office of Special Counsel, the federal government’s whistleblower protection agency, to take action against employers or agencies who retaliate against whistleblowers and provides for compensatory damages to certain whistleblowers who have successful cases based on retaliation. Whistleblower activists have roundly applauded the President’s actions in signing the bill into law.