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Notice to Employees on Federal Grants and Contracts Regarding Enhanced Whistleblower Protections

Section 828 of National Defense Authorization Act, P.L. 112-239 (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013, which is implemented in federal regulation at 48 CFR 3.908, mandates a pilot program for enhancement of contractor protection from reprisal for disclosure of certain information.  Specifically, the statute prohibits employees of a contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or subgrantee from being discharged, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against as a reprisal for disclosing “information that the employee reasonably believes is evidence of gross mismanagement of a Federal contract or grant, a gross waste of Federal funds, an abuse of authority relating to a Federal contract or grant, a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or a violation of law, rule, or regulation related to a Federal contract (including the competition for or negotiation of a contract) or grant.”    

To qualify under the statute, the employee’s disclosure must be made to:

(a)  A Member of Congress or a representative of a committee of Congress.
(b)  An Inspector General.
(c)  The Government Accountability Office.
(d)  A Federal employee responsible for contract or grant oversight or management at the relevant agency.
(e)  An authorized official of the Department of Justice or other law enforcement agency.
(f)  A court or grand jury.
(g)  A management official or other employee of the contractor, subcontractor, or grantee who has the responsibility to investigate, discover, or address misconduct.

The statute also describes the process for an employee’s submission of a complaint to the Inspector General of the executive agency involved, if a reprisal is believed to have been committed.  

The implementing regulation is not applicable to DoD, NASA, and the Coast Guard; or any element of the intelligence community, as defined in section 3(4) of the National Security Act of 1947, if such disclosure relates to an activity of an element of the intelligence community or was discovered during contract/subcontract services provided to an element of the intelligence community.

To review the National Defense Authorization Act in its entirety, click here.

To review the federal regulation in its entirety, click here.

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