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They Wanted to Make a Difference So They Blew the Whistle on the VA, Now they are Owed an Apology

In work environments were safety is encouraged it is disheartening to hear that a healthcare agency such as the VA released statements of apology to its workers yesterday to its employees of actions that were taken against of a few. These actions included retaliation after making complaints that are protected by OSHA guidelines.

On yesterday at the congressional hearing, James Tuschshmidt official at the Veterans Health Administration says he is sorry that VA employees have suffered retaliation after making complaints about poor patient care, long wait times and other problems.

"I apologize to everyone whose voice has been stifled," Tuchschmidt said after listening to four VA employees testify for nearly three hours about VA actions to limit criticism and strike back against whistleblowers. "That's not what I stand for. I'm very disillusioned and sickened by all of this."

The Veterans Administration is being reviewed by a federal investigative for 67 claims of retaliation by VA supervisors against employees who filed whistleblower complaints — including 25 complaints filed since June 1, after a growing health care scandal involving long patient waits and falsified records at VA hospitals and clinics became public.

This is a sounding board that everyone will be held accountable for their actions no matter how big or small; public or private; union or non- union. We must allow our employees to be vocal and work in a safety culture that allows that to be able to speak up when things are questionable.

Remember we are all protected against Retaliation

All of the laws we enforce make it illegal to fire, demote, harass, or otherwise “retaliate” against people (applicants or employees) because they filed a charge of discrimination, because they complained to their employer or other covered entity about discrimination on the job, or because they participated in an employment discrimination proceeding (such as an investigation or lawsuit).

For example, it is illegal for an employer to refuse to promote an employee because she filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, even if EEOC later determined no discrimination occurred.

Retaliation & Work Situations

The law forbids retaliation when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.