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Freedom of Information

Whistleblower / Reprisal

Blue Line

 

What Is Whistleblower Retaliation?  

A federal employee authorized to take, direct others to take, recommend or approve any personnel action may not take, fail to take, or threaten to take any personnel action against an employee because of protected whistle-blowing.

Protected whistleblowing is defined as disclosing information which the discloser reasonably believes evidences:

  1. a violation of law, rule, or regulation,
  2. gross mismanagement,
  3. gross waste of funds,
  4. an abuse of authority, or
  5. a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
What Can You Do If You Believe Whistleblower Retaliation Has Occurred?

 

If you believe that you have been subject to retaliation for protected whistleblowing you can file a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC). OSC is an independent agency that investigates and prosecutes allegations of prohibited personnel practices (PPP) by federal employees. OSC has the authority to investigate PPPs, including allegations of whistleblower retaliation, and may seek corrective or disciplinary action when warranted

Protected communication

For Service Members, a communication in which a member of the Armed Forces communicates information that the member reasonably believes provides evidence of a violation of law or regulation, including sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination, gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds or other resources, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety when such a communication is made to (a) A Member of Congress; an IG; or a member of a DoD audit, inspection, investigation, or law enforcement organization. (b) Any other person or organization (including any person or organization in the chain of command) designated under component regulations or other established administrative procedures (that is, equal opportunity advisor, safety officer, and so forth) to receive such communications.

For appropriated fund civilians, a protected communication is any disclosure to the special counsel, or to the Inspector General of an agency or another employee designated by the head of the agency to receive such disclosures, of information which the employee or applicant reasonably believes evidences a violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.

For non appropriated fund (NAF) employees, a protected communication is a disclosure by such an employee or applicant to any civilian employee or member of the armed forces designated by law or by the Secretary of Defense to receive disclosures of information, which the employee or applicant reasonably believes evidences a violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.