The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 was signed into law on November 27, 2012. The Act strengthens protection for federal employees who blow the whistle on waste, fraud, and abuse in government operations.
Whistleblower disclosures can save lives as well as billions of 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. Federal laws also protect whistleblowers from retaliation.
The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 directs Inspectors General to designate a Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman. The Ombudsman’s role is to educate agency employees about prohibitions on retaliation for protected disclosures, and educate agency employees who have made or are contemplating making a protected disclosure about the rights and remedies against retaliation for protected disclosures. The Ombudsman is prohibited from acting as an employee’s or former employee’s legal representative, agent, or advocate.
OIG has designated a Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman. In 2017, the Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman title was changed to the Whistleblower Protection Coordinator. USDA employees may contact the USDA Whistleblower Protection Coordinator at OIGWPC@oig.usda.gov. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs created a report summarizing the changes made to the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act by the Whistleblower Protection Coordination Act. It can be read in its entirety here: https://www.congress.gov/congressional-report/115th-congress/senate-report/196/1?overview=closed.
Inidividuals who believe they have been improperly retaliated against may contact the following entities:
- The United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General Hotline in any of the below manners:
(202) 690-1202 (TDD)
United States Department of Agriculture
Office of Inspector General
PO Box 23399
Washington, DC 20026-3399
Complete the form online located at:
- The Whistleblower Protection Coordinator
- The Office of Special Counsel (OSC). 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 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
- Whistleblower Educational Resources
- MSPB - Blowing The Whistle: Barriers to Federal Employees Making Disclosures (PDF, 1.5 MB) (.pdf)
- The New Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 and Prohibited Personnel Practices Video (1.5 hour video)
- Whistleblower Ombudsman Training Video (51 minute video)
- Otherwise Appealable Actions/Individual Right of Action and Associated Timeframes (DOCX, 17.4 KB) (.docx)
- Section 1097 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (PDF, 1.6 MB) (.pdf)
- Whistleblowing Works: How Inspectors General Respond to and Protect Whistleblowers (DOCX, 9.4 MB) (.docx)
- OSC Training Resources and Posters
- The Hatch Act and Federal Employees (PDF, 63.5 KB) (.pdf)
- Whistleblower Retaliation (PDF, 97.6 KB) (.pdf)
- Whistleblowing (PDF, 127 KB) (.pdf)
- Prohibited Personnel Practices (PDF, 70.2 KB) (.pdf)
- Know Your Rights When Reporting Wrongs (.docx) (DOCX, 93.9 KB)
- Your Rights as a Federal Employee (DOCX, 152 KB) (.docx)
- OSC Memo on Updated Legal Requirements Regarding Agency Training and Discipline (PDF, 39.7 KB)
- OSC Memo on Agency Monitoring Policies and Whistleblower Disclosures (PDF, 37.7 KB)
- OSC Instructions for Supervisors on How to Respond to an Employee Alleging Violations of Whistleblower Protections (PPTX, 153 KB) (.pptx)
- OSC 2302 Certification