Whistleblowing involves disclosure of information a federal employee (state and local employees are possibly covered under state laws) or applicant reasonably believes evidences a violation of law, rule, or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety. The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) prohibits agencies from taking adverse personnel action against employees (and applicants) based on the employee or applicant engaging in whistleblowing activities. However, the WPA does not apply to disclosures specifically prohibited by law or information required to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or conduct of foreign affairs (see, 5 USC 2302 (b)(8) for more information).
Prohibited personnel practices are enumerated at 5 USC 2302 (b) and include unlawful discrimination; improper personnel solicitations and recommendations; coercing political activity; improperly influencing employment decisions; granting improper preferences in personnel decisions; appointing relatives improperly; retaliation against whistleblowers; retaliation for the exercise of appeal or grievance rights; discrimination on the basis of conduct which is not job-related; and violations of the merit system principles.
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