As of January 1st, 2014, the number of whistleblower claims received by the newly appointed Department of Defense whistleblower protection ombudsman has reached 270, a sharp increase from the number of claims routinely received before the passage of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012, according to a recent report from the DoD Inspector General officials. With the changes, DoD officials have made every effort to inform all federal employees of their rights and the protections afforded to them under the new Enhancement Act, which may account for the increase in claims, and may be helping eliminate corruption and illegal business practices, San Francisco SEC whistleblower attorneys report.
Whistleblower complaints include exposure of fraudulent activities, waste, abusive practices, reprisal, and violations of confidentiality and classification laws and contracts. Since the passage of the 2012 Enhancement Act, the number of claims has grown from about four per month to six, and includes a number of reprisal complaints, after a new law was passed in July of 2013 that allows defense subcontractors to enjoy the same whistleblower protections.
The Enhancement Act of 2012 has made several changes to the existing Whistleblower Protection Act passed in 1989. The previous law was the first federal law to extend protection to whistleblowers who work for the federal government and who expose their employers’ misdeeds, and shield these people from retaliation from angry bosses during an ongoing investigation into claims. With the 2012 update, more emphasis will be placed on investigation and discovery timeframes, which now offer whistleblowers up to three years to file their complaints.
How This Law Affects Whistleblowers
Under the Enhancement Act, Inspectors General have been directed to appoint an official Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman, whose job it is to investigate any claims of misconduct or maladministration brought forward by an employee. Since the appointment of the DoD ombudsman in August of last year, more cases have been brought to light and are currently under investigation, SEC whistleblower attorneys in San Francisco are happy to report. Whistleblowers who file claims via the DoD hotline must provide their names and contact information, because anonymous and third party complaints cannot be investigated further.
The new law includes amendments that allow a whistleblower to report to or disclose information to a larger group of people, including “a court or a grand jury, as well as management officials or other employees of the contractor or subcontractor who has the responsibility to investigate, discover, or address the misconduct,” according to Marguerite Garrison, the deputy Department of Defense inspector general for administrative investigations.
The 2012 Enhancement Act brings more rights and protections to those who choose to speak out against corruption and illegal practices within their own corporations. These people deserve to be protected for their choice to expose fraud, without the fear that they will be blacklisted from future employment opportunities, or penalized within their current positions. To spread awareness about these rights, the Enhancement Act has made it mandatory for companies with contracts of $5 million or more to put up posters about whistleblower rights, which include directions on how to access the DoD hotline.
At the Evans Law Firm, Inc., our San Francisco SEC whistleblower attorneys represent persons who have filed or want to file a complaint of illegal activity or fraud being committed by their employer or company. Contact Ingrid Evans for a consultation today at 415. 441.8669 or www.evanslaw.com.