To satisfy the contributing factor criterion, an appellant need only raise a nonfrivolous allegation that the fact of, or content of, the protected disclosure was one factor that tended to affect the personnel action in any way. Baldwin, 113 M.S.P.R. 469, ¶ 22. One way to establish this criterion is the knowledgetiming test, under which an employee may nonfrivolously allege that the disclosure was a contributing factor in a personnel action through circumstantial evidence, such as evidence that the official taking the personnel action knew of the disclosure, and that the personnel action occurred within a period of time such that a reasonable person could conclude that the disclosure was a contributing factor in the personnel action. Id. Once an appellant has made a nonfrivolous allegation that the knowledge-timing test has been met, he has established the contributing factor jurisdictional element.7 Santos v. Department of Energy, 102 M.S.P.R. 370, ¶ 11 (2006); Wood v. Department of Defense, 100 M.S.P.R. 133, ¶ 13 (2005).
Mason v. Department of Homeland Security, 116 M.S.P.R. 135 (2011)