Contracting whistleblowers may get new channel to report wrongdoings
Government contractors and subcontractors may have a new avenue to report wrongdoings at federal agencies, if a new rule being floated by the Office of Special Counsel is put in place.
OSC announced Thursday that it was seeking input on a possible revision to regulations covering the disclosure by employees working under federal contracts of wrongdoings taking place at federal agencies.
“This revision will allow employees of Federal contractors, subcontractors, and grantees to disclose wrongdoing within the Federal government if they work at or on behalf of a U.S. government component for which OSC has jurisdiction to accept disclosures,” said a proposed rule published Jan. 22 in the Federal Register.
Through the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) and the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA), Congress has deputized federal employees to report fraud, waste and abuse, and provided protection for those employees from reprisals by agency officials.
“In the modern workforce, employees of contractors, subcontractors, and grantees (collectively ‘contractors’) often work alongside Federal employees, having similar if not identical duties,” the proposed rule said. “Thus contractors are similarly situated to observe or experience the same type of wrongdoing as are Federal employees. According contractors a safe channel to report wrongdoing within the government advances Congress’s purpose in enacting the CSRA and WPA. Moreover, Congress recently extended protection against retaliation to government contractors who make whistleblower disclosures, thereby signaling its encouragement of such disclosures. OSC deems such protection against retaliation a precondition to asking insiders to risk their careers to report wrongdoing. More…
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