The Foreign Service Journal, September 2021

46 SEPTEMBER 2021 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Alain Norman, Esq., retired from the Foreign Service and became a senior international fellow with the Government Accountability Project in 2020. During his 22 years with the State Department, he served in Europe, Latin America and Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. GAP-related inquiries may be emailed to or to Alain Norman at Raeka Safai, Esq., is the deputy general counsel for the American Foreign Service Association. She provides legal and policy guidance to elected AFSA officials and members on a full range of labor-man- agement and employment matters. Prior to joining AFSA in 2010, she was an associate at a Washington firm where she represented Foreign Service employees in administrative, civil and criminal matters. W histleblowing—and the need to protect those who report misconduct—is as old as the republic itself. In 1777 the Con- tinental Congress passed the first whistleblower protection act. Even today, members of the Foreign Service and other readers of this journal can benefit from “know your rights” information. As the Government Accountability Project concisely defines it: “Whistleblowers are those who witness wrongdoing in the workplace and decide to speak up to expose serious violations of public trust.” A seminal example of this was when, during our Revolutionary War, American naval officers reported to the Con- tinental Congress that their superior officer was abusing British prisoners—and Congress acted to protect the men who reported the misconduct. Further, private citizens have been empowered since the 1863 False Claims Act to bring lawsuits on behalf of the federal government when they believe individuals or companies are defrauding Uncle Sam. Today, the key law for most federal employees is the Whistle- blower Protection Act of 1989, as amended in 2012 by the Whistle- blower Protection Enhancement Act. Readers of the FSJ should also see the Foreign Service Act of 1980, Section 105(b)(2)(A). Protected acts by employees include not only denouncing gross waste or mismanagement, but also filing a grievance or refusing to carry out an order that would require breaking a law FS KNOW-HOW WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS ANonpartisan Necessity As old as the United States itself, whistleblowing has protections worth knowing about. BY ALA I N NORMAN AND RAEKA SAFA I