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The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) today filed a complaint with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board against the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS), alleging that the agency fired an analyst at its Wichita, Kansas, office for reporting an official who divulged employees' confidential grievance information in violation of federal law.
The complaint seeks to correct the retaliatory termination of Kenneth Langley. In June 2019, Mr. Langley informed managers that an agency management official improperly told him and another employee that certain employees had filed complaints and warned them to avoid one employee in particular. Soon after, Langley engaged in protected whistleblower activities by filing a disclosure with OSC.
Within two weeks of Mr. Langley's disclosure, USCIS initiated an investigation of him, which the complaint alleges was a pretext for gathering evidence to fire him for his whistleblowing. USCIS then fired him in March 2020.
OSC's complaint follows its investigative report on Langley's termination, issued last summer to USCIS's acting director. USCIS failed to take corrective action based on that report's finding of whistleblower retaliation, prompting the complaint.
“As the agency responsible for safeguarding the merit system, OSC strives to maximize the impact of its enforcement actions and deter future violations," said Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner. “OSC is committed to remedying retaliation against federal employees who engage in protected whistleblowing activities."