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By Bob Hegamin and Nigel Keiffer AN OPINION February 6, 2001

Sound public policy requires government to conduct itself in an open and honest manner, which can be guaranteed only when courageous "whistleblowers" report "improper, unsafe and illegal actions." Elected officials and bureaucrats, however, fearing such notoriety generally defend the perpetrator, then lamely argue that civil service rules prevent them from imposing any penalty anyway. So, instead of prosecuting the perpetrator, they target the "whistleblower" for doing the right thing, which simultaneously discourages other employees from reporting further violations.

Government's generic way of dealing with problems is to "kill the messenger." In this case, they will persecute and place the "whistleblower" at risk of suffering a loss of career and pension or the possibility of death induced by stress. But, unconscionably, government will nevertheless continue to use taxes to badger "whistleblowers" by whatever means, to wit:

"Retaliation" includes, but is not limited to:

 assignment of additional duties without accommodation or consideration

 denial of adequate support staff to perform duties

 harassment, excessive supervision or other discriminatory treatment of the employee

 unwarranted and unsubstantiated letters of reprimand or unsatisfactory performance evaluations

 refusal to assign the employee to meaningful work

 lay-off out of order

 requirement of psychiatric or psychological examination or treatment as a condition of continued employment

 instigation or maintenance of surveillance of the employee

 encouragement of an employee's coworkers to behave in a hostile manner toward the whistleblower

 frequent or undesirable office changes

"Retaliation" also includes any personnel action construed as a subterfuge for retaliation or harassment of an employee. Personnel actions include, but are not limited to:







 performance evaluations

 reductions in pay or rank




 alleged violations of agreements with labor organizations under collective bargaining

"Retaliatory Action" by a fellow employee includes, but is not limited to:

 any action which is intended to embarrass or harass any other employee as a result of such employee having filed a written complaint regarding an "improper governmental action"

 having raised privately or publicly any concern or question regarding an actual or apparent violation of the provisions of the policy

 blackballing or blacklisting the whistleblower from potential employment by direct or indirect unwarranted negative references to the whistleblower's activities

 providing unwarranted and unfounded information for the purpose of denying benefits to the whistleblower

"Use of official authority or influence" includes, but is not limited to: taking, directing others to take, recommending, processing or approving any personnel action such as an appointment, promotion, assignment, reassignment, reinstatement, restoration, reemployment, transfer, performance evaluation or any other disciplinary action to discredit the whistleblower.

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