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).
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.
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.
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.
Feeling Retaliated Against for Speaking Up?
- File a complaint with OSC; or
- File a Union grievance; or
- 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.