Congressman Sean Duffy Introduces Whistleblower Protection Legislation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Sean Duffy (R-WI), Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing & Insurance, today introduced the Dr. Chris Kirkpatrick Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017. The bipartisan bill adds protections for probationary period whistleblowers who are retaliated against; ensures federal employees have a better understanding of whistleblower protections and their rights; and sets minimum discipline standards across all agencies for retaliation. It also ensures that accessing the medical file of an employee in retaliation for blowing the whistle – something that OSC says happens all too often at the VA – is treated as a prohibited personnel action and that supervisors are punished accordingly. It also requires the VA to come up with a plan to restrict unauthorized employee access to medical files.
Named after Dr. Chris Kirkpatrick, a psychologist at the VA Medical Center in Tomah, Wisconsin, who was fired after he questioned the over-medication of veterans being treated at the facility. On the day of his termination, Dr. Kirkpatrick committed suicide.
“Dr. Kirkpatrick did everything he could to unveil the alarming over-medication of veterans at the Tomah VA, and it ended up costing him his job and his life,” said Congressman Duffy. “This whistleblower protection bill will honor his legacy and take further steps to protect the courageous men and women who stand up for what’s right against immoral behavior within our government.”
An identical bill introduced by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) passed the Senate on May 25, 2017.
USA Today profiled Dr. Kirkpatrick of the Tomah VA, who was harassed, reprimanded, and fired for being a whistleblower. On the day of his firing, Dr. Kirkpatrick committed suicide. Click HERE to read his story.
Congressman Duffy has stood up for whistleblowers through recently legislation:
- Today’s legislation bill text in full HERE.