Summary: S.585 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Public Law No: 115-73 (10/26/2017)

Dr. Chris Kirkpatrick Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017

TITLE I--EMPLOYEES GENERALLY

(Sec. 102) This bill directs federal agencies (excluding any entity that is an element of the intelligence community) to give priority to an employee transfer request if the Merit Systems Protections Board (MSPB) grants a stay of a personnel action at the request of: (1) the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) if the OSC determines the personnel action was taken, or is to be taken, as a result of a prohibited personnel practice; or (2) the employee if the individual is in probationary status and seeks corrective action.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) shall report to Congress on retaliation against employees in probationary status.

(Sec. 103) The bill prohibits any employee who has the authority to take, direct others to take, recommend, or approve of any personnel action to access the medical records of another employee or applicant for employment.

(Sec. 104) Agencies employing a supervisor who has committed a prohibited personnel action may propose: (1) a suspension of not less than three days, (2) a reduction in grade or pay, and (3) removal from the position. A supervisor must receive written notice specifying the reasons for the proposed action and the right of the supervisor to review the material which is relied on to support the reasons for the proposed action. A supervisor is entitled to 14 days following the notice to answer and furnish evidence in support of the answer.

(Sec. 105) Agencies must refer information about employee suicides to the OSC indicating whether, prior to the death of the employee, any disclosure of information was made evidencing: (1) a violation of any law, rule, or regulation; (2) gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial danger to public health or safety; or (3) whether any personnel action was taken against the employee as a result.

(Sec. 106) Agencies must provide training on how to respond to complaints alleging a violation of whistle-blower protections to: (1) any employee appointed to a supervisory position in the agency who has not previously served as a supervisor; and (2) on an annual basis, to all employees serving in a supervisory position.

(Sec. 107) Agencies must: (1) provide information regarding whistle-blower protections to new employees during probationary periods, (2) inform employees of the role of the OSC and the MSPB with regard to whistle-blower protection, and (3) make information about such protections available on agency websites.

TITLE II--DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS EMPLOYEES

(Sec. 201) The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must submit a plan to Congress on efforts to prevent any unauthorized access to the medical records of VA employees.

(Sec. 202) The VA must conduct an outreach program to inform its employees of any mental health services, including telemedicine options.

(Sec. 203) The VA must ensure protocols are in effect to address threats against VA employees providing health care.

(Sec. 204) The GAO shall conduct a study to assess the reporting, staffing, accountability, and chain of command structure of the VA police officers at VA medical centers.