September 29, 2014
VA To Make Phoenix Whistleblowers Whole
WASHINGTON – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald today announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), working closely with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), has successfully resolved whistleblower retaliation complaints filed by three individuals from Phoenix.
"At VA, we take whistleblower complaints seriously and will not tolerate retaliation against those who raise issues which may enable VA to better serve Veterans," said McDonald. "We depend on VA employees and leaders to put the needs of Veterans first and honor VA's core values of 'Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect and Excellence.'"
Based on the validity of their claims of retaliation, each whistleblower has settled their complaint with VA and two have accepted new positions within the Department.
Working with OSC, VA has taken several steps to strengthen whistleblower protection and enhance accountability within the organization. VA leadership has sent a message to all VA employees regarding the importance of whistleblower protection, has emphasized that managers and supervisors bear a special responsibility for enforcing whistleblower protection laws and has met with employees at VA Medical Centers across the country to reemphasize that message.
Additionally, VA is committed to achieving compliance with the OSC 2302 (c) Certification program, and has established the Office of Accountability Review with a direct reporting line to the Secretary. Its charter is to ensure leadership accountability for improprieties related to patient scheduling and access to care, whistleblower retaliation and related matters that impact public trust in VA.
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