TSA whistleblower case goes to Supreme CourtNews added by Benefits Pro on June 6, 2014
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By Dan Cook

The U.S. Supreme Court, at the request of the Obama Administration, will review a lower court ruling that supported a Transportation Security Administration whistleblower.

The whistleblower: Robert MacLean, a former federal air marshal who, in 2006, went public with information that the TSA was eliminating some air marshal travel to save money.

He was fired for his efforts, although another result of his going public was a Homeland Security policy change.

As reported by the Washington Post, MacLean received a favorable ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals, which said “MacLean was entitled to argue that he was protected as a whistleblower and that his disclosure had not been ‘specifically prohibited by law.’ The government said the regulations passed by the agency, which it contends prohibited MacLean’s actions, were authority enough to fire the air marshal.”

MacLean’s case has received considerable attention because it raises the question of whether a federal employee can go public with security concerns about his or her own agency employer. Previous rulings in the case said federal whistleblower laws protected MacLean from being fired, and that as a result his firing may be been unfair. That’s the issue the Supreme Court will review, according to the Post.

MacLean’s whistleblowing battle continues. On May 19, the Supreme Court decided to consider the case involving the fired federal air marshal who leaked information to the press because he felt the public’s safety was at risk.

Now, at the request of the Obama Administration, the Supreme Court will review a lower court’s decision that MacLean had been ‘unfairly fired’ for going to the media about a security plan.

The Post said U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., filed a brief in support of the Supreme Court review in which he said the lower court’s ruling “effectively permits individual federal employees to override the TSA’s judgments about the dangers of public disclosure.”

The case will be on the court’s docket when its next session begins in October, the Post said.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com
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