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Whistleblower Protection

Whistleblower Protection

Whistleblowing Multimedia

 

Whistleblowing Resources

 

The following links exit the site:

Confidentiality, Anonymity, & Whistleblower Protection

The IG Act and other pertinent laws protect persons making Hotline complaints.

Complaints Made by EPA Employees

In accordance with section 407 of the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, 5 U.S.C. §§ 401–424, the OIG shall not, after receipt of a complaint or information from an EPA employee, disclose the identity of the employee without the consent of the employee unless the Inspector General determines such disclosure is unavoidable during the course of an investigation. Any identifying information is confidential source material, and OIG employees must not disclose such information except to other OIG employees who have a need to know in connection with their official duties.

Complaints Made by Other Persons

Complainants who are not EPA employees do not have an automatic right to confidentiality under section 407 of the Inspector General Act of 1978. However, non-EPA employees may specifically request confidentiality, and the OIG will protect the confidentiality of such complainants to the maximum extent permitted by law (for example, by using applicable exemptions and exclusions of the Freedom of Information Act and applicable exemptions of the Privacy Act).

Anonymity

If you do not wish to disclose your identity, you may remain anonymous when contacting the OIG. However, please keep in mind that anonymity may impede a quick or thorough investigation or the success of a later prosecution.

Whistleblower Protection Act

The following links exit the site The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 (WPA) and the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 Enhanced by the Act of 2012 provides protection rights for Federal employees against retaliation for whistleblowing activities. Under WPA, Federal employees may seek whistleblower protection from the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). OSC is an independent executive agency whose responsibilities include investigating whistleblowers' complaints and litigating cases before the MSPB. MSPB has the authority to enforce their decision and to order corrective and disciplinary actions. Actions ordered can include restoring one's job, reversing suspensions, taking disciplinary action against a supervisor, and reimbursing attorney fees, medical and other costs, and damages.

Protection Under Environmental Statutes

Whistleblower protection provisions are written into six environmental statutes:

  • Clean Water Act (CWA)
  • Clean Air Act (CAA)
  • Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)
  • Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
  • Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA)
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)

 

Employers subject to the provisions of the above statutes may not discriminate against any employee who engages in whistleblowing activities related to the above statutes. The Department of Labor has found that Federal employees may be covered by these protections. Complaints may be filed with the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Employees of EPA Contractors, Subcontractors, Grantees, or Subgrantees or Personal Service Contractors

Under 41 U.S.C. § 4712, it is illegal for an employee of a federal contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or subgrantee or personal services contractor to be discharged, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against for making a protected whistleblower disclosure. If you are an employee of an EPA contractor, subcontractor, grantee, subgrantee, or personal services contractor and believe you have been retaliated against for making a protected whistleblower disclosure, you may submit a retaliation complaint to the OIG Hotline. For more information about whistleblower protections for such employees, please review this whistleblower protection informational brochure.


Whistleblower Protection Coordinator

EPA OIG Whistleblower Protection Coordinator Poster

Role of the Whistleblower Protection Coordinator

The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 and the “Whistleblower Protection Coordination Act” of 2018 amended the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.) to require Inspectors General to designate a Whistleblower Protection Coordinator to educate agency employees about prohibitions against retaliation for protected disclosures. The acts strengthen protections 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.

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The coordinator educates employees who have made or are contemplating making a protected disclosure about the rights and remedies against retaliation for protected disclosures – including the means by which employees may seek review of any allegation of reprisal, and the roles of the Office of Inspector General, the Office of Special Counsel, the Merit Systems Protection Board and any other relevant entities. Further, the coordinator assists the Inspector General in promoting the timely and appropriate handling and consideration of protected disclosures and allegations of reprisal, to the extent practicable, by the Inspector General. The coordinator cannot act as a legal representative, agent, or advocate of an employee or former employee.

Definition of Whistleblowing

Disclosure made to:
  • U.S. Office of Special Counsel
  • EPA Inspector General
  • A supervisor or higher EPA manager
Alleging:
  • A violation of any law, rule, or regulation,
  • Gross mismanagement,
  • A gross waste of funds,
  • An abuse of authority,
  • A substantial and specific danger to public health or safety
  • Feeling Retaliated Against for Speaking Up?

    1. File a complaint with OSC; or
    2. File a Union grievance; or
    3. If facing a significant personnel action, file an appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board and raise whistleblower retaliation as a defense to the personnel action.
  • Contact the EPA Whistleblower Protection Coordinator

    Environmental Protection Agency
    Office of Inspector General
    Whistleblower Protection Coordinator
    1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
    Washington, DC 20460

    whistleblower_protection@epa.gov
    (202) 566-1513