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9:44 am, January 29, 2015

OSC News

Fighting for whistleblower rights, OSC gains higher profile

Blowing the whistle on wrongdoing at the Department of Veterans Affairs can mean risking everything from losing a job to losing the respect of co-workers. But in fighting whistleblower retaliation today, the Office of Special Counsel hopes future whistleblowers will come forward without fear of punishment.

Wednesday - 01/28/2015, 03:24pm EST
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Eric Bachman, Office of Special Counsel

The Office of Special Counsel is helping Veterans Affairs employees bounce back after they've been punished for blowing the whistle. The office has obtained relief for 25 employees and counting. OSC deputy special counsel for litigation and legal affairs, Eric Bachman, joined Emily Kopp on the Federal Drive to explain the operation.

Tuesday - 01/27/2015, 10:40am EST
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Contracting whistleblowers may get new channel to report wrongdoings

The Office of Special Counsel has proposed a rule change that would allow federal contractors and grantees a new channel to report wrongdoings at federal agencies.

Friday - 01/23/2015, 04:25pm EST

OSC helps VA whistleblowers retain jobs, regain reputations

Veterans Affairs whistleblowers reclaimed their jobs and reputations after supervisors tried to downplay claims of falsified performance reports, a delayed response to rape allegations against a VA employee and low staffing levels at VA medical centers.

Tuesday - 01/20/2015, 05:17pm EST

Debra Roth, Partner, Shaw, Bransford & Roth P.C.

The Office of Special Counsel recently blocked the removal of a TSA inspector in South Carolina. The inspector was also a whistleblower. Kimberly Barnett alleges her supervisor violated agency safety rules and falsified the amount of time he worked and spent in training. The supervisor retaliated unsuccessfully. Debra Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw, Bransford and Roth. She joined the Federal Drive with Tom Temin for this week's Legal Loop segment to discuss the significance of this case.

Thursday - 01/15/2015, 10:45am EST
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Larry Youngner, Partner, Tully Rinckey PLLC

The Office of Special Counsel recently found the Army had discriminated against transgender civilian employee Tamara Lusardi. Lusardi, a quality assurance specialist, faced what OSC described as "frequent" and "pervasive" harassment on a daily basis. The Army didn't admit to prohibited personnel practices, but it did agree to start diversity and sensitivity training. Larry Youngner is a partner at the law firm Tully Rinckey. He joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive to discuss the implications of the case.

Thursday - 10/30/2014, 02:52pm EDT
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VA nurse claims retaliation for blowing the whistle on patient practices

When a nurse manager at a Veterans Affairs medical center in Albany, New York, saw a patient being unnecessarily kept in restraints for seven hours, she couldn't remain silent. But little did Valerie Riviello know that her actions as a whistleblower would start her down on a path of retaliation from her coworkers.

Friday - 06/27/2014, 10:27am EDT
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OSC investigating dozens of claims of whistleblower retaliation at VA

The Office of Special Counsel is investigating more than three dozen claims of whistleblower retaliation at the scandal-rocked Veterans Affairs Department. The 37 cases OSC is investigating span VA facilities in 19 states. They include VA employees who say they've been retaliated against for disclosing a range of misconduct, including improper scheduling practices, the misuse of agency funds and inappropriately restraining patients, according to OSC.

Thursday - 06/05/2014, 11:32am EDT

Shirine Moazed, Chief of Washington field office, Office of Special Counsel

Your agency's deadline for a Whistleblower Certification Program is June 1. Congress created the program in 2002 and the Obama Administration wants federal agencies to finish making it a standard part of their workforce policies. As part of our special report Trust Redefined: Reconnecting Government and its Employees, Shirine Moazed, chief of the Washington field office for the Office of Special Counsel, tells In Depth with Francis Rose how the certification program works and offers five steps to meet the deadline.

Tuesday - 05/20/2014, 05:40pm EDT
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Are you violating the Hatch Act and you don't even know it?

Under the Hatch Act, federal employees face a number of restrictions when it comes to their political activity on and off the job. The law was originally designed to protect feds from political coercion.

Tuesday - 05/20/2014, 04:23pm EDT
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Is hike in whistleblower claims a sign of progress or growing mistrust?

The heads of both the Office of Special Counsel and Merit Systems Protection Board tell Federal News Radio as part of our special report, "Trust Redefined: Reconnecting Government and Its Employees," that their increasing workloads could actually be a sign of progress, and that more employees feel protected enough to make whistleblower disclosures. However, an exclusive Federal News Radio survey reveals a wide chasm of trust remains when it comes to feds blowing the whistle at work.

Tuesday - 05/20/2014, 02:10am EDT
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OSC targets Hatch Act violations at IRS, improper hiring at CBP

A customer service representative at the IRS who repeatedly greeted taxpayers calling a help-line with a chant urging President Barack Obama's re-election in 2012 could now be facing significant disciplinary action, according to the Office of Special Counsel. It's one of three cases of improper political activity at the agency recently uncovered by OSC. Meanwhile, three career officials at Customs and Border Protection are under fire by OSC for allegedly manipulating the hiring process to install job candidates favored by political leadership into career appointments.

Wednesday - 04/09/2014, 03:45pm EDT

New leadership at DHS cracks down on overtime abuse at CBP

Union and CBP officials call for reform of outdated OT pay system, saying the purpose of Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime was misinterpreted.

Wednesday - 01/29/2014, 02:28pm EST
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Whistleblower cases have gone 'through the roof,' even as OSC faces uncertain budget

The Office of Special Counsel, the agency tasked with investigating federal-agency whistleblower claims and protecting whistleblowers, themselves, from retaliation has seen demand for its work skyrocket in the wake of recent legislative changes. Now, Carolyn Lerner, the head of the OSC, said she hopes the small agency's budget will keep pace.

Monday - 12/02/2013, 05:23pm EST
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Court ruling could tie OSC's hands when it comes whistleblowers

The Office of Special Counsel is "deeply concerned" about the implications of a federal court ruling that stripped low-level Defense Department employees of their ability to appeal suspensions and demotions outside the agency. OSC, which filed an amicus brief earlier this month with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, is worried the ruling could have a chilling effect on whistleblowers.

Monday - 03/25/2013, 06:31pm EDT
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Whistleblowers allege wrongdoing at VA center

In the letter sent Monday to the White House and Congress, the Office of Special Counsel said an initial 2009 report by a whistleblower employee at the G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson, Miss., alleged that the staff routinely failed to properly clean and sterilize reusable medical equipment such as scalpels and bone cutters.

Tuesday - 03/19/2013, 01:40am EDT

President signs whistle-blower bill for US workers

President Barack Obama signed legislation Tuesday that affords greater protection to federal employees who expose fraud, waste and abuse in government operations.

Tuesday - 11/27/2012, 08:11pm EST

OSC, HHS's Sebelius at odds over Hatch Act violation

The Office of Special Counsel found the HHS Secretary's remarks in February at a gala violated the law prohibiting federal employees from engaging in partisan actions. Kathleen Sebelius contends she didn't break the law.

Wednesday - 09/12/2012, 07:52pm EDT

FAA chief says voting claim under federal review

The head of the Federal Aviation Administration says an independent federal agency is investigating allegations that FAA managers in Seattle urged employees to vote Democratic in the upcoming election.FAA acting Administrator Michael Huerta says no one from his agency or elsewhere in the Obama administration gave such directions about how to vote.

Wednesday - 09/12/2012, 04:10pm EDT

OSC warns agencies of email monitoring restrictions

The Office of Special Counsel is reminding agencies not to target email monitoring of employees that could have a chilling effect on whistleblowers who report waste, fraud and abuse.

Monday - 06/25/2012, 09:52am EDT
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