Whistleblower Protections

Whistleblower Information for Employees of Federal Contractors and Grantees

Employees of a federal contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or subgrantee are protected by law from retaliation for disclosing wrongdoing.  A person holding a personal services contract with a federal agency is also covered by these laws.  However, individuals receiving federal assistance, such as a student loan or social security, are not covered.

A disclosure is protected if it meets two criteria:

  1. The disclosure must be based on a reasonable belief that wrongdoing has occurred
  2. The disclosure must also be made to a person or entity that is authorized to receive it

Wrongdoing is defined as:

  • Gross mismanagement of a Federal contract or grant,
  • Gross waste of Federal funds,
  • Abuse of authority relating to a Federal contract or grant,
  • Substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, and
  • Violation of law, rule, or regulation related to a Federal contract (including the competition for or negotiation of a contract) or grant

Person/Entity authorized to receive disclosures:

  • A Member of Congress or a representative of a committee of Congress,
  • An Inspector General,
  • The Government Accountability Office,
  • A Federal employee responsible for contract or grant oversight or management at the relevant agency,
  • An authorized official of the Department of Justice or other law enforcement agency,
  • A court or grand jury, or
  • A management official or other employee of the contractor, subcontractor, or grantee who has the responsibility to investigate, discover, or address misconduct

Where to Report Fraud, Waste, Abuse, or Retaliation?

USM Office of Internal Audit (https://www.usmd.edu/usm/IAO/ReportFraud/index.php)

Federal Office of Inspector General (https://www.oversight.gov/content/Where-Report-Fraud-Waste-Abuse-or-Retaliation)

References and Resources

UMD Whistleblower Procedure - VPR Memo and Guidance


Federal Statute: 41 U.S.C. § 4712

Federal Regulations: 48 C.F.R. 3.908

Department of Defense: Title 10, U.S.C. § 4701

Updated June 2022


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