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.
Individuals who believe they have been improperly retaliated against may contact the following resources:
- The United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General Hotline in any methods in the sidebar or from the Hotline page.
- The Whistleblower Protection Coordinator.
- 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
- Federal Whistleblower Protection Frequently Asked Questions
- MSPB - Blowing The Whistle: Barriers to Federal Employees Making Disclosures (PDF, 1.5 MB) (.pdf)
- 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)
- The Hatch Act and Federal Employees (PDF, 63.5 KB)
- Whistleblower Retaliation (PDF, 97.6 KB)
- Whistleblowing (PDF, 127 KB)
- Prohibited Personnel Practices (PDF, 70.2 KB)
- Know Your Rights When Reporting Wrongs (PDF, 323 KB)
- Your Rights as a Federal Employee (PDF, 62 KB)
- 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)
- 2021 Annual Supervisory Training – Responding to Complaints Alleging Violations of Whistleblower Protections (PDF, 102 KB)
- OSC 2302 Certification