House Introduces Bill to Protect Private-Sector Whistleblowers Against Retaliation
October 1, 2012
On September 13, 2012, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), along with cosponsors Dale Kildee (D-MI) and George Miller (D-CA), introduced the “Private Sector Whistleblower Protection Streamlining Act of 2012” (H.R. 6409). If passed, the bill would enhance the protections against retaliation afforded to private-sector whistleblowers who disclose information they reasonably believe evidences the following:
- A violation or the intent to commit a violation by the employer of an applicable law;
- A hazard or potential danger to the health or safety of any employee or to the public, including any injury or illness; or
- Fraud on the part of the employer in connection with the implementation of or compliance with an applicable law or a standard of practice established by a professional standards setting body.
In addition, the bill would establish a new Whistleblower Protection Office in the Department of Labor, which would hear cases alleging retaliation by whistleblowers who disclosed information about their employer. The bill would further establish an administrative review board within the Department of Labor that would have authority to decide appeals from administrative decisions regarding claims of retaliation and issue final agency decisions on behalf of the secretary of labor. The bill was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on Energy and Commerce.