Whistleblowers play a key role in saving taxpayer money and reducing fraud, waste, and abuse in the federal government. But what happens when one faces retaliation for blowing the whistle? Today’s WatchBlog explores what we found happens to whistleblowers at the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) when they allege retaliation. Whistleblowers’ long waits From 2009 to 2013, DOJ closed 62 FBI whistleblower retaliation complaints. The majority of these were closed within 1 year, though some took up to 10 years to resolve, as shown below. Overall,
- 44 complaints (71%) were closed within a year,
- 15 complaints took from 1 to 4 years to close, and
- 3 complaints took from 4 to 10.6 years to close.
The 3 cases that took the longest were the only ones we reviewed where DOJ ultimately found in favor of the whistleblower and ordered corrective action, such as back pay or reimbursement for attorney’s fees.
- provide complainants with estimates of when to expect DOJ decisions; and
- monitor whether the DOJ investigators examining the complaints comply with requirements, such as updating the complainant on the progress of the investigation.
- DOJ should clarify whom FBI employees should report allegations of wrongdoing to if they want to be protected from retaliation, and
- Congress may want to consider allowing FBI whistleblowers to seek corrective action for retaliation if they reported alleged wrongdoing to supervisors or others who are not among the current 9 entities.