Literature Review on the Federal Whistleblower Protection Act

Whistleblowers protection legislation aims to encourage whistleblowing by discouraging retaliation. The whistleblower protection act (WPA) of 1989 for instance conferred rights to federal employees to initiate action before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) in case of reprisals following whistleblowing activities and to appeal to federal court where they want a review of unfavorable rulings from MSPB (Whitaker, 2007; Whitaker & Schmerling, 1998). This literature review evaluates the effect of WPA on whistleblowing aspects such as retaliation and willingness to report fraud.

Search Criteria

The criteria used to identify studies for review involved a key-word search in databases such as Proquest, Academic Search Complete, Sage, SocINDEX, Public Administration Abstracts, Jstor, ScienceDirect, Wiley InterScience and SpringerLink. The keywords used included “Whistleblower protection act”, “United States”, and “Whistleblower federal legislation.” Studies specific to the 1989 whistleblower protection act for federal employees were limited, but few studies evaluating changes in whistleblowing activities in the period following WPA enactment offer insight into the effect of WPA. These studies are discussed in subsequent sections.

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