My whistleblower pal says there’s no justice working for Uncle Sam
I have written about whistleblowers in this blog and have used them as sources for stories but I have never felt their plight. Until perhaps now. A few days ago I wrote about learning that Charlotte Yee, a former source from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, had started a blog FedHallofShame.com to expose the intimidation she experienced and considered routine for federal employees. I expressed concerned, not for any hurt or humiliation she may have suffered, but rather for the possibility that BLS, which calculates unemployment and inflation statistics, may have been cowed into cooking the nation’s books.
In a followup email, I went so far as to tell Yee:
“. . . if you just happen to have worked in an office where people were bullied, so what. Life is tough and then you die.”
Yee included that, ahem, sentiment at the top of the blog entry in which she painted federal service service not as a cush gig with high pay and easy pensions but rather as a class of employees who do not enjoy any of the workplace protections of people in private sector employment, who have at the least the legal right to sue bad bosses, even if they can’t always afford a lawyer. She wrote:
“In the private sector, there are laws. In the federal sector, is no law enforcement and no worker protection. If you fancy your secretary in the private sector, be ready set aside a nice piece of your company’s revenues to pay her damages. In the federal sector, help yourself. Want to slug someone? Ditto. 2+2= whatever you want it to be, boss. There are no punitive damages in the federal sector — that would be like suing the taxpayer — and compensatory damages are capped at $200,000. No attorney in their right mind would take a federal employee case . . . these cases . . . are heard in special federal employee courts by administrative judges who endure the exact same culture because — guess what — they’re federal employees too!