Whistleblower Protection

The Whistleblower Protection Program was established to ensure that employees and applicants who disclose allegations of serious wrongdoing or gross mismanagement are free from fear of reprisal for their disclosures.

Protected Disclosures Disclosure by current and former Federal employees and applicants of the following types of wrongdoing are covered by the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989:

  • a violation of any law, rule, or regulation,
  • mismanagement,
  • a gross waste of funds,
  • an abuse of authority, or
  • a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.

Other Information for Potential Whistleblowers Employees who report allegations of serious wrongdoing or gross mismanagement must provide sufficient information for the OIG to commence an inquiry. This is particularly important when the employee wishes to remain confidential.

Employees are reporting parties, not investigators.

Protection of a disclosing-employee's identity is not absolute, but will always be maintained to the fullest extent possible.

Employees must be candid and truthful with investigators or others to whom they disclose alleged wrongdoing or mismanagement.

An employee's right to protection against reprisal does not extend immunity for the employee's own involvement in wrongdoing or mismanagement.

Disclosures of information protected by law should be made to a Government agency, such as the OIG, that is authorized to receive and investigate such a disclosure.

What is Whistleblower Retaliation? The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 prohibits retaliation. This means it is unlawful for agencies to take or threaten to take a personnel action against an employee because he or she disclosed wrongdoing. Personnel actions can include poor performance review, demotion, suspension or termination. In addition, the law prohibits retaliation for filing an appeal, complaint, or grievance; helping someone else file or testifying on their behalf; or cooperating with or disclosing information to the OIG. For a pamphlet prepared by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) containing more information, click on Know Your Rights When Reporting Wrongs.

Filing a Complaint of Reprisal The HUD OIG refers complainants who believe they have been improperly retaliated against to the following entities:

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC). 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 found on their website at 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 www.mspb.gov/appeals/whistleblower.htm.

The HUD OIG Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman provides education about protections for current or former HUD employees who make protected disclosures. The Ombudsman coordinates with HUD administrations and staff offices to increase awareness of prohibitions on whistleblower retaliation. In addition, the program disseminates information on rights and remedies against retaliation for making protected disclosures. Specifically, the Ombudsman provides employee complainants with information on how to contact organizations that address reprisal allegations.

This program was authorized by the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012, which became law on November 27, 2012. By law, the Ombudsman is prohibited from acting as a complainant’s legal representative, agent, or advocate.

Employee Notifications pursuant to Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012

As required by the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-199, §§104(b)(2), 115(a)(2), Notice is hereby given that it is a prohibited personnel practice for the agency to implement or enforce any nondisclosure policy, form, or agreement, that does not contain the following statement prescribed at 5 U.S.C. 2302(b)(13):

“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 [nondisclosure policy, form, or] agreement and are controlling.”

 

The following Executive orders and statutory provisions are controlling in the case of a conflict with a nondisclosure policy, form, or agreement:

  • Executive Order No. 13526 (December 29, 2009) EO 13526;
  • Section 7211 of Title 5, United States Code 5 USC 7211
    (governing disclosures to Congress);
  • Section 1034 of Title 10, United States Code, as amended by the Military Whistleblower Protection Act 10 USC 1034 
    (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 5 USC 2302(b)(8)
    (governing 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 statutes which protect against disclosure that may compromise the national security, including sections 641, 793, 794, 798 and 952 of title 18, United States Code 18 USC 641;
    18 USC 793-798;
    18 USC 952;
  • Section 4712 of Title 41, United States Code, as amended 41 USC 4712
    (providing enhanced protection against reprisal for whistleblower disclosures by employees of Federal contractors or grantees; pilot program scheduled to end 2017).

2014 Whistleblower Protection Training Video

CLICK HERE to Watch


Whistleblower Ombudsman Contact Information

Name: Athena Jones
Email: whistleblower@hudoig.gov

To report Fraud, Waste, Abuse or Mismanagement in HUD and HUD programs contact us via email at hotline@hudoig.gov