Mount v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, No. 18-1762 (1st Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
In this federal whistleblower case, the First Circuit granted Petitioner's petition for review of the determination of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) dismissing Petitioner's Individual Right of Action appeal under the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA), 5 U.S.C. 1214(a)(3), holding for the first time in this circuit that the WPA only requires that a complainant include sufficient factual basis to enable an agency to investigate.
Petitioner alleged that his supervisors retaliated against him because he delivered a document to a colleague that the colleague later used to support his own whistleblower case against the agency. Before the MSPB, Petitioner argued (1) he suffered reprisal for "lawfully assisting" the coworker in the coworker's exercise of his rights under the WPA, and (2) even if he did not engage in a protected activity, he was perceived by the agency and his supervisors to have done so and, as a result, suffered reprisal. The MSPB concluded that Petitioner's actions had been too minimal to constitute actual assistance under the WPA and that Petitioner had failed to exhaust his perceived assistance claim. The First Circuit remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that Petitioner satisfied the WPA's exhaustion requirement as to his perceived assistance claim.