We received a complaint from a former pension benefits supervisor (Complainant) of a PBGC contractor (Contractor) who claimed she was terminated in October 2014, in retaliation for making protected disclosure of certain information, in violation of 41 U.S.C. § 4712, (Pilot Program for Enhancement of Contractor Protection from Reprisal for Disclosure of Certain Information). The Contractor operates one of PBGC’s Field Benefit Administration services offices which provide participant and benefit processing services and assistance. Based on information received from the Complainant, we identified six separate disclosures. We concluded that four of her disclosures were not “protected” disclosures as defined by the statute. We concluded two disclosures about the Contractor’s alleged failure to pay her overtime could reasonably be considered protected as defined by the statute. However, we were unable to show that the Contractor official who terminated the Complainant knew of these disclosures. Even if the evidence were to show that the Complainant’s disclosures were a contributing factor in her termination, we found there is reasonable grounds to conclude that the Contractor can show by clear and convincing evidence that the Contractor official would have terminated her on other grounds absent her disclosures. In sum, we concluded there is insufficient evidence to substantiate the Complainant’s allegation that the Contractor subjected the Complainant to a reprisal for whistleblowing. Because the final report contains information protected by the Privacy Act of 1974, disclosure of the report is restricted.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
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