October 12, 2016. Washington, D.C. Monday, the National Whistleblower Center and FBI whistleblowers Fred Whitehurst, Jane Turner, Mike German and Robert Kobus (Amici) filed an amicus curiae brief in a case before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The brief was filed in Parkinson v. Department of Justice in support of John C. Parkinson, a former FBI special agent and Iraq war veteran.
Mr. Parkinson blew the whistle on his FBI colleagues’ alleged sexual misconduct in 2008 and was fired for his disclosures. In March 2016, the Court ruled that Mr. Parkinson had been illegally fired. The Department of Justice (DOJ), the defendant in this case, appealed that decision and the Court granted an en banc review before a panel of three judges.
The Amici contend that denying Mr. Parkinson his whistleblower rights as a veteran would deprive all veterans of important substantive rights under the law. The issue on appeal is whether a veteran preference eligible FBI employee may raise whistleblower retaliation as a defense to adverse personnel actions before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) The DOJ’s argues in court filings that there is “no room to doubt that Congress intended to exclude all FBI employees from MSPB review of whistleblower claims.”
However, the Amici argue that “if veteran preference eligible FBI employees who are removed from employment appeal from the adverse action to the MSPB, but are forced to file their whistleblower complaint only with the DOJ, it will severely prejudice those veterans. That is not what Congress intended.”
Attorneys David Colapinto and Stephen Kohn of the Washington, D.C. law firm Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto, LLP (KKC) represent the Amici Curiae in this matter as part of the firm’s pro bono docket. Mr. Kohn serves as the executive director of the National Whistleblower Center and Mr. Colapinto serves as its general counsel.