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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jun 23, 2017.
Dr. Chris Kirkpatrick Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017
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 Protection 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 such employee is in probationary status and seeks corrective action.
The bill: (1) 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; and (2) authorizes disciplinary action against supervisors for retaliation against whistle-blowers.
Agencies must: (1) refer information about employee suicides to the OSC, (2) train supervisors on responding to complaints alleging whistle-blower protections violations, (3) provide information regarding whistle-blower protections to new employees during probationary periods, (4) inform employees of the role of the OSC and the MSPB with regard to whistle-blower protection, and (5) make information about such protections available on agency websites.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must: (1) submit a plan to Congress on efforts to prevent any unauthorized access to the medical records of VA employees; (2) conduct an outreach program to inform its employees of any mental health services, including telemedicine options; and (3) ensure protocols are in effect to address threats against VA employees providing health care.