Whistleblower Protection Act – conclusion

Legislation aimed to protect whistleblowers against reprisals by employers aim to promote whistleblowing thus deter wrongdoing. The whistleblower protection act enacted in 1989 in the U.S. provided enhanced protection for whistleblowers by lowering the burden of proof of reprisals resulting from their whistleblowing activities. The review presented here aimed to assess the effect that WPA has had on whistleblowing outcomes such as retaliation and willingness to report fraud. A search of various online databases generated limited specific to WPA outcomes. Although the limited research on WPA present a challenge to a comprehensive review of effectiveness and weaknesses, few studies presented some insights.

From the reviewed literature, WPA was noted to increase the incidence of whistle blowing in case of wrongdoing among federal officers. However, WPA did not prevent retaliation with cases of retaliation increasing even with the enactment of WPA. Although WPA lowered the burden of proof for whistleblowers, some studies indicated that linking reprisals to whistleblowing activity remained a challenge to the realization of the intent of WPA. Additionally, despite WPA enhancing whistleblower rights, employers rarely informed employees of such rights even with the 1994 amendments to WPA requiring such employee education. A potential risk of expansive interpretation of WPA was also noted with respect to employees taking advantage of WPA’s provisions to deter fair disciplinary action from superiors.

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