The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) protects Federal employees and applicants for employment who lawfully disclose information they reasonably believe evidences a violation of law, rule, or regulation, gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety. Under the WPA, certain Federal employees may not take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take, any personnel action against an employee or applicant for employment because of the employee or applicant’s protected whistleblowing.
The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 strengthened protection for Federal employees who disclose evidence of waste, fraud, and abuse in government operations by expanding the scope of protection and judicial review. It also directed Inspectors General to designate a Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman to educate agency employees about prohibitions against, and rights and remedies relating to, retaliation for making protected disclosures. The Ombudsman is prohibited from acting as an employee's or former employee's legal representative, agent, or advocate. In 2017, the Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman title was changed to the Whistleblower Protection Coordinator.
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (NDAA), enacted a pilot program making it illegal for an employee of a Federal contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or subgrantee to be discharged, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against for making a protected whistleblower disclosure. In 2016, Congress amended the program to make those protections permanent, (41 U.S.C. § 4712).
Whistleblower disclosures can save lives as well as taxpayer dollars. They play a critical role in keeping our Government honest, efficient, and accountable. Recognizing that whistleblowers root out waste, fraud, and abuse, and protect public health and safety, federal laws strongly encourage employees to disclose wrongdoing.
Part of the OIG’s mission is to investigate wrongdoing exposed by NEH employees, grant recipients, and contractors. The OIG Whistleblower Protection Program ensures that employees, grant recipients, and contractors who disclose allegations of serious wrongdoing or gross mismanagement are free from fear of reprisal for their disclosures.
WHISTLEBLOWER EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
- Whistleblowing (.pdf)
- Whistleblower Retaliation (.pdf)
- Prohibited Personnel Practices (.pdf)
- The Hatch Act: Permitted and Prohibited Activities for Federal Employees Subject to Further Restrictions (.pdf)
- Know Your Rights when Reporting Wrongs (.pdf)
- Your Rights as a Federal Employee (.pdf)
- Enhancement of Contractor Protection from Reprisal for Disclosure of Certain Information
- MSPB - Blowing The Whistle: Barriers to Federal Employees Making Disclosures (.pdf)
Individuals who believe they have been improperly retaliated against may contact:
- The U.S. Office of Special Counsel OSC is an independent agency enforcing whistleblower protections, safeguarding the merit system and providing a secure channel for whistleblower disclosures. Information on filing a complaint with OSC may be found at: http://www.osc.gov.
- 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: https://www.mspb.gov/appeals/whistleblower.htm.
- The National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Inspector General:
Telephone: (877) 786-7598
Written correspondence: 400 7th Street, SW; Washington, DC 20506
File a complaint via the OIG Hotline Form