TSA implements enhanced whistleblower protections for officers

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National Press Release
Thursday, July 31, 2008

August 13, 2008 amendment to release: TSA is still in the process of finalizing the documents necessary to implement the enhanced TSO whistleblower protections.

WASHINGTON - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced today the implementation of enhanced whistleblower protections for 46,000 transportation security officers (TSOs).

Under an agreement with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), security officers will now be able to appeal whistleblower retaliation complaints to the Board after exhausting options with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC). Additionally, OSC may now seek corrective action on behalf of a TSO with the MSPB.

"The additional protection now afforded to our frontline officers enhances their ability to protect the traveling public," said TSA Deputy Administrator Gale Rossides. "Giving our officers every opportunity to communicate security concerns without fear of reprisal is an important tool in a creative, engaged workforce."

The enhanced whistleblower protections continue the trend of major workforce initiatives at TSA. In 2007, TSA began providing full-time health benefits to part-time security officers. The agency has also instituted pay-for-performance and career progression programs, while offering increased opportunities for frontline security officers to participate in the decision making process through the agency’s innovative National Advisory Council.

Prior to this agreement, the OSC, an independent, federal investigative and prosecutorial agency, investigated retaliation complaints and made recommendations to TSA to take corrective and/or disciplinary action when warranted.

The MSPB is an independent, quasi-judicial agency with responsibility for deciding Federal employee appeals from personnel actions taken against them, protecting the integrity of the civil service and other Federal merit systems, and conducting studies of the civil service and other merit systems in the Executive Branch.

For more information, please visit www.tsa.gov.