Whistleblower Prevails on Retaliation Claim
Edward T. Kopsick, a GS-13 logistics management specialist, prevailed on a whistle-blowing claim against his employer, the Defense Logistics Agency, in an Individual Right of Action appeal before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. Mr. Kopsick was appointed to a GS-14 position as the Deputy Commander of a DLA supply depot in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The depot was operated by a government contractor and Mr. Kopsick’s responsibilities included monitoring the contractor’s adherence to DLA regulations and procedures. He complained that the contractor was not in compliance and reported this to higher DLA officials. After the contractor complained about his conduct, DLA terminated his assignment, returned him to his prior position and then imposed a 14 day suspension for unprofessional conduct. After unsuccessfully seeking resolution though the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, he appealed the termination of his Deputy Commander appointment and suspension to the Merit System Protection Board. After holding a hearing, on February 18, 2015, an MSPB Administrative Judge issued an Initial Decision finding that his termination was based on his protected disclosures. The Judge ordered the DLA to cancel the tour cancellation and his suspension and to make him whole for the pay he lost. The DLA did not file a Petition for Review and he recovered over $200,00 in back pay and lost benefits as well as recovery of his attorneys fees. His claim for compensatory damages remains pending.