Friday, October 17, 2014

Whistle-blower protection (41 U.S.C. §4712)

The federal government has implemented a pilot program for Enhancement of Employee Whistleblower Protection that is effective until January 1, 2017.   This program applies to all employees working for contractors, grantees, subcontractors and sub-grantees on federal grants and contracts. 

Under the program, employers may not discharge, demote, or otherwise discriminate against an employee as a reprisal for disclosing information that the employee reasonably believes is evidence of any of the following:

  1. Gross mismanagement of a Federal contract or grant;
  2. A gross waste of Federal funds;
  3. An abuse of authority relating to a Federal contract or grant;
  4. A substantial and specific danger to public health or safety; or,
  5. A violation of law, rule, or regulation related to a Federal contract or grant (including the competition for, or negotiation of, a contract or grant).

To qualify under the statute, the employee's disclosure must be made to:

  1. A Member of Congress, or a representative of a Congressional Committee;
  2. An Inspector General;
  3. The Government Accountability Office;
  4. A federal employee responsible for contract or grant oversight or management at the relevant agency;
  5. A court or grand jury; or,
  6. A management official or other employee of the contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or sub-grantee who has the responsibility to investigate, discover or address misconduct.

The University of Iowa is committed to fostering responsible conduct of research and maintaining a safe work environment.  That commitment involves full compliance to all local, state and federal laws as well as UI policies.   If you observe what you think is a specific safety issue or a deficiency in compliance with regulations, we encourage you to report your concern so that it can be investigated.