Whistleblowers perform an important service by bringing to light allegations of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement and by reporting what they reasonably believe to be evidence of wrongdoing. They should not be subject to or threatened with reprisal for doing so. Employees of the FDIC, financial institution employees and contractors who blow the whistle play a critical role in keeping our FDIC programs and operations honest, efficient, and accountable. Federal laws both strongly encourage employees to disclose wrongdoing and protect whistleblowers from retaliation.
What is a whistleblower?
An FDIC employee, contractor, or financial institution employee that has disclosed what is reasonably believed to be:
- A violation of law, rule, or regulation;
- Gross mismanagement;
- Gross waste of funds; or
- An abuse of authority.
What does the OIG do for whistleblowers?
The OIG has established a Whistleblower Protection Coordinator Program in accordance with the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) of 2012. The Whistleblower Protection Coordinator is responsible for
- Educating agency employees about the prohibitions, rights and remedies against retaliation for protected disclosures, including how to seek review of retaliation claims, the timeliness of such cases, and potential relief.
- Promoting timely and appropriate review of protected disclosures and reprisal complaints received by the OIG.
- Coordinating with the Office of Special Counsel and other agencies and entities on whistleblower matters.
In addition, the OIG has been certified by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) under its Certification Program, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. Section 2302(c), which is explained at https://osc.gov/Services/Pages/Outreach-2302Cert.aspx. The FDIC OIG’s completion of OSC’s Certification Program demonstrates its commitment to whistleblowers and the protections provided under Federal law. In addition, the FDIC OIG is committed to working with the FDIC to reinforce such protections through training and awareness programs.
The OIG Whistleblower Protection Coordinator may be contacted at:
Office of Inspector General
Whistleblower Protection Coordinator
3501 N. Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22226
Or FDIC OIG Hotline attn.: Whistleblower Protection Coordinator
The OIG Whistleblower Protection Coordinator is not permitted to act as an employee's or former employee's legal representative, agent, or advocate.
Reports concerning wrongdoing by FDIC employees or in FDIC programs should be submitted directly to the OIG Hotline.
What is whistleblower retaliation?
Under the Whistleblower Protection Act, FDIC officials are prohibited from taking, failing to take, as well as threatening to take or fail to take a personnel action because of an FDIC employee’s protected whistleblowing.
Is there recourse for prohibited retaliation?
If an adverse personnel action has been taken or threatened against you in reprisal for making a protected disclosure of wrongdoing to your management, the OIG, or elsewhere, you may submit a complaint to the OIG Hotline or to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC). OSC is an independent executive agency whose responsibilities include investigating whistleblowers' complaints, enforcing whistleblower protections, and litigating cases of reprisal before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). MSPB has the authority to enforce OSC’s determinations and to order corrective and disciplinary actions. Actions ordered can include restoring one's job; reversing suspensions; taking disciplinary action against a supervisor; and reimbursing attorney fees, medical and other costs, and damages.
Allegations of reprisal for participating in the EEO process should be addressed to the Office of Special Counsel or the EEO process. For more information on whistleblower rights and protections, please see the pamphlet prepared by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, “Know Your Rights When Reporting Wrongs,” or check out the following resources:
U.S. Office of Special Counsel. (202) 254-3600
Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 Enhanced by the Act of 2012
What else should employees know?
As required by the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012, notice is hereby given that it is a prohibited personnel practice for the agency to implement any nondisclosure policy, form, or agreement that does not contain the following:
“These provisions are consistent with and do not supersede, conflict with, or otherwise alter the employee obligations, rights, or liabilities created by existing statute or Executive order relating to (1) classified information, (2) communications to Congress, (3) the reporting to an Inspector General of a violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or (4) any other whistleblower protection. The definitions, requirements, obligations, rights, sanctions, and liabilities created by controlling Executive orders and statutory provisions are incorporated into this [nondisclosure policy, form, or] agreement and are controlling.”