- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 27, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal employees who expose fraud, waste and abuse in government operations now have new protections against retaliation.

President Barack Obama signed the bill into law Tuesday, 13 years after groups representing whistle-blowers began lobbying for the added protections.

The legislation closes loopholes created by court rulings, which removed protections for federal whistle-blowers. One loophole specified that whistle-blowers were only protected when they were the first to report misconduct.

The bill makes it easier to punish supervisors who try to retaliate against the government workers.

The new legislation, however, would go beyond restoring protections, to expand whistle-blower rights and clarify certain protections. For example, whistle-blowers could challenge the consequences of government policy decisions.

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