The DHS Office of Inspector General has designated a Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman, as required by law.Employees of DHS and its contractors, subcontractors, and grantees perform an important service by reporting what they reasonably believe to be evidence of wrongdoing, and they should never be subject to or threatened with reprisal for doing so. The OIGâ€™s Whistleblower Ombudsperson program carries out a number of key functions, including:
Educating DHS employees and managers about prohibitions on retaliation for protected disclosures, and employees who have made or are contemplating making a protected disclosure about the rights and remedies against retaliation for protected disclosures;
Ensuring that the OIG is promptly and thoroughly reviewing complaints that it receives, and that it is getting back to whistleblowers in a timely fashion; and
Coordinating with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, other agencies, and non-governmental organizations on relevant matters.
The information and linked materials accessible from this page are intended to serve as educational tools for DHS employees and supervisors about whistleblower protections.
The Ombudsman cannot act as a legal representative, agent, or advocate for DHS employees. If you have questions or concerns regarding specific situations, it may be advisable to seek help or representation from a union representative, if applicable, or from outside legal counsel.
WHO IS A WHISTLEBLOWER?
May be an employee, former employee, or applicant who discloses information that she/he reasonably believes is evidence of:
Violation of any law, rule or regulation;
Gross waste of funds;
Abuse of authority; or
Substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
, DHS Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman.
Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA)
On November 27, 2012, President Obama signed the WPEA into law to strengthen protections for Federal employees who report fraud, waste and abuse. The WPEA:
Clarifies the scope of protected disclosures; the disclosure does not lose protection because:
the wrongdoing being reported has previously been disclosed;
of the employee's motive for reporting the wrongdoing;
the disclosure was made while the employee was off duty;
the disclosure was made during the employee's normal course of duty, if the employee can show that the personnel action was taken in reprisal for the disclosure;
of the amount of time which has passed since the occurrence of the events described in the disclosure.
Protects disclosures that an employee reasonably believes are evidence of censorship related to research, analysis, or technical information that causes, or will cause, a gross government waste or gross mismanagement , an abuse of authority, a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or any violation of law;
Expands the penalties imposed for violating whistleblower protections;
Extending whistleblower protections to TSA employees.
Establishes a Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman in certain OIGs for a five year period.
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