Understanding and Adhering to the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement in Contractor Reprisal

The Whistleblower protection enhancement of contractor protection from reprisal (act of retaliation) took effect on October 31, 2021. We are a subcontractor of Federal grant funds, so our team completes an annual Whistle Blower Protection Training.

A Whistleblower is a person often an employee who reveals information about activity within a private or public organization that is deemed illegal, immoral, illicit, unsafe, or fraudulent.

Whistle Blower Protection is needed because people often heavy price for blowing the whistle. The retaliation can include extreme increases in workloads, having hours cut drastically, preventing task completion, bullying or termination.

An employee of a contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or subgrantee or personal services contractor may not be discharged, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against as a reprisal for disclosing to a person or body information that the employee reasonably believes is evidence of gross mismanagement of a Federal contract or grant, a gross waste of Federal funds, an abuse of authority relating to a Federal contract or grant, a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or a violation of law, rule, or regulation related to a Federal contract (including the competition for or negotiation of a contract) or grant.

The Persons or bodies covered under this law include:

• A Member of Congress or a representative of a committee of Congress.
• An Inspector General.
• The Government Accountability Office.
• A Federal employee responsible for contract or grant oversight or management at the relevant agency.
• An authorized official of the Department of Justice or other law enforcement agency.
• A court or grand jury.
• A management official or other employee of the contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or subgrantee who has the responsibility to investigate, discover, or address misconduct.

Whistle Blowers report allegations by submitting a complaint to the Inspector General of the executive agency involved. The Inspector General shall investigate the complaint and, upon completion of such investigation, submit a report of the findings of the investigation to the person, the contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or subgrantee concerned, and the head of the agency within 180 days. If the Inspector General is unable to complete the investigation in time to submit a report within the 180 days, if both parties agree, they can have an additional 180 days to investigate.

The Inspector General’s Report will not release the Whistleblowers identity unless they receive consent of the person alleging the reprisal or if it is necessary to conduct investigation of alleged reprisal.

The Whistleblower has a three-year time limit after the date on which the alleged reprisal took place to submit a complaint.

The head of the executive agency concerned has 30 days after receiving the Inspector General’s report to do the following:

Issue an order denying relief or shall take one or more of the following actions:

  • Order the contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or subgrantee to take affirmative action to abate the reprisal.
  • Order the contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or subgrantee to reinstate the person to the position that the person held before the reprisal, together with compensatory damages (including back pay), employment benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment that would apply to the person in that position if the reprisal had not been taken.
  • Order the contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or subgrantee to pay the complainant an amount equal to the aggregate amount of all costs and expenses (including attorneys’ fees and expert witnesses’ fees) that were reasonably incurred by the complainant for, or in connection with, bringing the complaint regarding the reprisal, as determined by the head of the executive agency.

The head of each executive agency must ensure that contractors, subcontractors, grantees, and subgrantees of the agency inform their employees in writing of the rights and remedies provided.

The Whistleblower Protection is in place to protect employees from retaliation and give them confidence to report wrongdoing. At TriYoung, Inc, we observe and comply with applicable federal, state, and local statutes, ordinances, rules, and regulations. We developed a Whistleblower training and will require our team to attend the training annually.