Whistleblowing means disclosing information that you reasonably believe is evidence of a violation of any law, rule, or regulation, gross management, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety.
On July 9, 1989, the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 (Public Law 101-12) became effective. Congress enacted this law to strengthen protections for Federal employees, former employees, and applicants for employment who claim that they have been subjected to personnel actions because they made whistleblowing disclosures.
The Whistleblower Protection Act prohibits retaliation. This means it is unlawful for agencies to take or threaten to take a personnel action against an employee because he or she disclosed wrongdoing. Personnel actions can include a poor performance review, demotion, suspension, or termination. In addition, the law prohibits retaliation for filing an appeal, complaint, or grievance; helping someone else file or testifying on their behalf; cooperating with or disclosing information to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel or an Office of Inspector General; or refusing to obey an unlawful order.
Types of Protected Disclosures
- Violation of any law, rule or regulation;
- Gross mismanagement;
- A gross waste of funds;
- An abuse of authority; and/or
- A substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.