Federal Employees Forced to Sign Nondisclosure Agreements that Violate the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act

“The Obama administration is forcing employees to sign written pledges of secrecy, known as nondisclosure agreements, without including the whistleblower exceptions mandated by [the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act], according to a congressional review by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley.” The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act “requires such agreements to contain an explicit statement notifying employees the agreements do not trump an employee’s rights and obligations under the law relating to communications to Congress, reporting misconduct to an Inspector General, or any other whistleblower protections,” according to the National Whistleblowers Center. The purpose of requiring the government to provide federal employees with explicit notification of their right to blow the whistle is summarized as follows in Senator Grassley’s congressional review:

Whistleblowers are the lynchpin of accountable government. At great risk to their careers, whistleblowers expose waste, fraud, and abuse. In return for their courage, whistleblowers are too often singled-out for retaliation and other personnel practices prohibited by law. Agencies that require employees to enter so-called “non-disclosure agreements” can abuse such agreements to prevent the flow of information about wrongdoing to Inspectors General and to Congress. Enforcing cover-ups in this manner mocks the rule of law and undermines the public trust.

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