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News | Oct. 29, 2019

Protections available to all federal employees

By DCMA Total Force Strategic Learning

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is an independent agency that protects federal employees from prohibited personnel practices, including whistleblower retaliation and unlawful hiring practices. OSC also provides an independent, secure channel for disclosing and resolving wrongdoing in federal agencies

The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 and the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 provide the right for all covered federal employees to make whistleblower disclosures and to ensure that employees are protected from whistleblower retaliation. The Dr. Chris Kirkpatrick Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 and OSC’s Reauthorization Act of 2017 further enhanced and reinforced these rights and protections.

Whistleblowing is defined as the disclosure of information that an employee reasonably believes evidences: a violation of any law, rule or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety; or censorship related to scientific research or analysis. Employees may make lawful disclosures to anyone, including, for example, management officials, the inspector general of an agency, and/or OSC.

The OSC fact sheet Your Rights as a Federal Employee details information on the fourteen prohibited personnel practices and employees’ rights to file complaints with OSC. Additionally, Know Your Rights When Reporting Wrongs, describes different avenues for making whistleblower disclosures as federal employees. More information can also be found on the OSC website.

Federal employees have the right to be free from prohibited personnel practices, including retaliation for whistleblowing. The agency is committed to making sure all employees are aware of their rights as well as the safeguards that are in place to protect them.