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It is unlawful for Federal agencies to take or threaten to take a personnel action against an employee or applicant because he or she disclosed allegations of wrongdoing or gross mismanagement (i.e., whistleblowing activities). Personnel actions can include a poor performance review, demotion, suspension, and termination.
In addition, Government contractors are prohibited from discharging, demoting or otherwise discriminating against an employee as a reprisal for disclosing information to a Member of Congress, or an authorized official (i.e., officer or employee responsible for contracting, program management, audit, inspection, investigation, or enforcement of any law or regulation relating to Government procurement or the subject matter of the contract) of an agency or of the Department of Justice, relating to a substantial violation of law related to a contract (including the competition for or negotiation of a contract).
For a pamphlet prepared by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) containing more information, click on Know Your Rights When Reporting Wrongs [PDF].
Disclosure of the following types of wrongdoing are covered:
Filing a Complaint of Reprisal
- a violation of any law, rule, or regulation;
- a gross waste of funds;
- an abuse of authority; or,
- a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
Individuals who believe they have been improperly retaliated against may contact the following entities:
The Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman
- The Office of Special Counsel. OSC is an independent agency enforcing whistleblower protections and certain other actions within the Federal government. Information on filing a complaint with OSC may be at www.osc.gov.
- TIGTA's Office of Investigations Complaint Management Team (CMT). Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees or applicants who believe that they have been subject to whistleblower retaliation may contact CMT at the following:
Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
P.O. Box 589
Ben Franklin Station
Washington, DC 20044-0589
- The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). Certain employees may be able to appeal directly to MSPB. More information on whistleblower MSPB appeals is available at www.mspb.gov/appeals/whistleblower.htm.
TIGTA's Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman provides education to increase awareness of prohibitions against whistleblower retaliation and the rights and remedies against retaliation for making protected disclosures.
The Ombudsman is prohibited from acting as a complainant's legal representative, agent, or advocate. For additional information concerning whistleblower rights and remedies, please contact Lori Creswell at WhistleblowerProtection@tigta.treas.gov.
Non-Disclosure Agreement Notice
The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 (WPEA) requires, among other things, that any non-disclosure policy, form or agreement (NDA) include the below language. Any NDA executed without the below language should be read as if the following language were incorporated into the NDA:
These provisions are consistent with and do not supersede, conflict with, or otherwise alter the employee obligations, rights, or liabilities created by existing statute or Executive order relating to (1) classified information, (2) communications to Congress, (3) the reporting to an Inspector General of 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, or (4) any other whistleblower protection. The definitions, requirements, obligations, rights, sanctions, and liabilities created by controlling Executive orders and statutory provisions are incorporated into this agreement and are controlling.
The following are controlling in the case of any conflict and an NDA:
- Executive Order No. 13526;
- Section 7211 of Title 5, United States Code (governing disclosures to Congress):
- Section 1034 of Title 10, United States Code, as amended by the Military Whistleblower Protection Act (governing disclosure to Congress by members of the military);
- Section 2302(b)(8) of Title 5, United States Code, as amended by the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 (government disclosures of illegality, waste, fraud, abuse, or public health or safety threats);
- Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 (50 U.S.C. 421 et seq.)(governing disclosures that could expose confidential Government agents):
- The statues which protect against disclosure that may compromise the national security, including sections 641, 793, 794, 798, and 952 of Title 18, Unites States Code; and,
- Section 4(b) of the Subversive Activities Act of 1950 (50 U.S.C. 783(b)).