Javier Soto was at one point a Ratings Benefits Services Representative for the St. Petersburg region office of the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, after he released a report that spoke to the “poor, inept and inaccurate” process of quality control for benefits claims at the VA, he was released from his duties.
Now, Soto has filed a whistleblower complaint through the Merit Systems Protection Board against the VA, claiming that the VA fired him out of retaliation for pointing out the various problems at the St. Petersburg office, which is the busiest in the nation in terms of claim processing. Soto claims to have been fired without any sort of due process or notice, and says there was absolutely no investigation into any of the issues he brought up in his report. He also claims that management of the VA made the decision to terminate him without speaking to his direct superiors and that they disregarded his lack of any prior disciplinary or performance issues. He is seeking his job back, as well as damages for wrongful termination.
The complaint he originally filed with the Federal Labor Relations Authority is still pending, and the complaint he filed with the Office of Special Council closed without any action. His complaint with the Merit Systems Protection Board is allowed under provisions of 1989’s Whistleblower Protection Act.
The VA has not made any comment on the Soto case. His report alleged that taxpayer funds were being spent in inefficient and wasteful ways, and that some veterans were not given enough payment because their claims were not being appropriately investigated while others were being paid too much.
If you have been the victim of wrongful termination after exercising your whistleblower rights, speak with a trusted Dallas attorney from Whistleblower Law for Managers for legal representation.