Ingram v. Dept. of the Army, 2011 MSPB 71, the
validated allegations of
made by Ingram, an employee of the Department of Defense. The decision
held that stripping Ingram of duties, denying his request for a transfer,
issuing uncharacteristically low performance evaluations and finally transferring
Ingram to a post with lesser responsibilities were all
prohibited personnel practices
that were tantamount to retaliation for his protected disclosures.
Mr. Ingram’s claims arose in June 2008, when an Army contractor requested
to videotape and photograph a demonstration of its products at an Army
facility alongside those of a competitor; recordings which Ingram suspected
would later be used by contractor for future promotional purposes. Ingram
opposed the request on the basis that the videotaping was not in line
with the Department of Defense ethics regulations. The Army’s legal
department determined that Mr. Ingram’s concerns were legitimate
and advised that the demonstration was contrary to regulations.
Ingram's managers initially praised Ingram's initiative in seeking
the legal opinion, but continued to push for formal authorization of the
Ingram continued to raise concerns about possible violations of the Department
of Defense’s ethical violations. The demonstration was eventually
cancelled however, instead of praise, Ingram found himself stripped of
oversight duties, denied a transfer request, and a recipient of unusually
low performance evaluations, just prior to be transferred to a position
that was in essence, a demotion.
After filing two petitions for review to the full Board, the MSPB eventually
held that Ingrid was the subject of whistleblower retaliation and in a
strongly worded opinion, the Army was order to return Ingrim to his former
position together with all back pay.
The decision is consistent with a long line of MSPB case law that establishes,
if nothing else, that tenacity and the aggressive representation of an
attorney who represents federal employees are essential elements of an