BPA Whistleblowers Lauded
A new federal whistleblower protection law apparently worked for four Bonneville Power Administration employees who protested hiring discrimination against veterans. Following a more than year-long investigation in the BPA human resources department, the new independent Office of Special Counsel and the Energy Department Inspector General fully exonerated four employees who blew the whistle on a corrupted hiring process.
The final report found deliberate disqualification of 117 veterans who had applied for jobs between 2010 and 2012.
After the investigative dust settled, the four whistleblowers won settlements with full relief, two HR supervisors were rebuked and demoted, and the agency's former HR director resigned. One veteran who was not hired, even though he was qualified, was appointed to the job for which he had been passed over and got full back pay as part of the deal.
Charges that BPA violated hiring rules led to a congressional hearing in 2013. The chair of the House Oversight committee concluded that BPA employees were scared to speak with investigators for fear of retaliation.