Whistleblowers need more than apology

Many people who work in the private sector would have no trouble answering a “what’s wrong with this picture” question about a Veterans Affairs Department official’s apology this week.

During a congressional hearing Tuesday, VA official James Tuchschmidt apologized for the retaliation some agency employees suffered after complaining about shoddy service to veterans. “I apologize to everyone whose voice has ben stifled,” Tuchschmidt told lawmakers of the 67 complaints by VA employees that supervisors retaliated against them.

What’s wrong with this picture is simple: What about VA officials who punished employees who stood up for veterans? Have they been penalized?

In the private sector, many companies have formal, written policies that ban retaliation against employees who complain about workplace conditions or problems with a firm’s products or services. Some of those policies call for immediate termination of the culprits.

It appears the VA did punish some of the supervisors involved. But members of Congress should be asking whether all involved have been penalized and how severely they were treated.


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