DoD Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman

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.

In the Department of Defense, it is laws enacted to protect military servicemembers and employees who “blow the whistle” and then experience a personnel or other adverse action because their employers knew or suspected they blew the whistle. How?

• Employee makes a protected communication or disclosure;
• Employer knows about it or suspects it;
• Employer takes an unfavorable personnel action, withholds a favorable personnel action, or under some statutes, takes other reprisal action or threatens to take or withhold a personnel action;
• Evidence establishes that the reprisal action would not have been taken, withheld, or threatened if the protected communication or disclosure had not been made.

• Military servicemembers
• Non-appropriated fund civilian employees
• Employees of defense contractors and subcontractors
• Appropriated-fund civilian employees, including members of the intelligence community

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