The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, 5 U.S.C. 2302(b)(8)-(9), Pub.L. 101-12 as amended, is a United States federal law that protects federal whistleblowers who work for the government and report the possible existence of an activity constituting a violation of law, rules, or regulations, or mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority or a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety. A federal agency violates the Whistleblower Protection Act if agency authorities take (or threaten to take) retaliatory personnel action against any employee or applicant because of disclosure of information by that employee or applicant.
This summary is from Wikipedia.
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
3/16/1989--Passed Senate amended.
Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 - Separates the Office of Special Counsel from the Merit Systems Protection Board. Empowers the Special Counsel to represent and act as legal counsel on behalf of employees alleging prohibited personnel practices, especially whistleblowers. Revises current law with respect to the Special Counsel to reflect its advocate status. Authorizes the Board to grant protective orders to protect a witness or other individual from harassment either during a proceeding before the Board or during a Special Counsel investigation. Requires the Board, when it considers alternative places for conducting hearings or proceedings, to select the place closest to the location of the individual involved, unless the total administrative costs to the Government in conducting such hearings or proceedings would be less elsewhere. Authorizes the Special Counsel to file a petition with the Board against an official for: (1) engaging in prohibited personnel practices; (2) violating a law within the jurisdiction of the Special Counsel; or (3) failing to comply with an order of the Board. Sets forth procedures for disciplining such officials. Authorizes the Special Counsel to apply to the Board to enforce a court subpoena. Prohibits the Special Counsel from intervening in cases without the employee's consent. Prohibits the Special Counsel from providing information concerning any person making an allegation of a prohibited personnel practice without the consent of such person, except when necessary because of imminent danger to public health or safety or of imminent criminal act. Prescribes procedures for the Special Counsel when disclosures are made by persons other than an employee, former employee, applicant for employment, or employee who obtained information in connection with official duties. Requires the Special Counsel to report annually to the Congress on its activities. Establishes requirements for the Special Counsel to make public certain information, including noncriminal matters. Authorizes employees who have been adversely affected by a prohibited personnel practice to bring an action before the Board (instead of or in addition to taking such action to the Special Counsel). Requires whistleblowers to show that their disclosure was a contributing factor in adverse actions against them in order to prove reprisal. Authorizes Federal agencies to give preference in granting transfers to whistleblowers. Provides interim relief for certain appellants to the Board. Authorizes appropriations for the Merit Systems Protection Board for FY 1989 through 1994 and for the Office of Special Counsel for FY 1989 through 1992.