Whistleblower Rights and Protections
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald has reiterated the U.S. Department
of Veterans Affairs (VA) commitment to whistleblower rights and protections. “VA
takes whistleblower complaints seriously and will not tolerate retaliation
against those who raise issues which may enable VA to better serve Veterans,”
said VA Secretary Robert McDonald. “We depend on VA employees and leaders to put
the needs of Veterans first and honor VA’s core values of ‘Integrity,
Commitment, Advocacy, Respect and Excellence.’”
What are whistleblower disclosures?
In general, a whistleblower disclosure is information which the whistleblower (the
person making the disclosure) reasonably believes evidences:
- a violation of law, rule, or regulation;
- gross mismanagement;
- gross waste of funds;
- an abuse of authority; or
- a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
Whistleblower disclosures can save lives as well as billions of taxpayer
dollars. They play a critical role in keeping our Government honest, efficient,
and accountable. Recognizing that whistleblowers root out waste, fraud, and
abuse, and protect public health and safety, Federal laws strongly encourage
employees to disclose wrongdoing. Federal laws also protect whistleblowers from
What is whistleblower retaliation?
In general, whistleblower retaliation occurs when an official who knew of the
employee’s disclosure takes, does not take (e.g., in the case of a promotion),
threatens to take, or influenced someone else to take a personnel action against
the employee and the whistleblower disclosure was a contributing factor in the
Whistleblower retaliation is a prohibited personnel practice (PPP). For more
information about 13 PPPs click
If you believe you have experienced retaliation
for filing a whistleblower disclosure, please contact:
VA’s commitment to whistleblower rights and protections
On an annual basis, the Secretary sends out a
message to all employees reiterating VA’s commitment to equal employment,
diversity and inclusion, and whistleblower rights and protections. The
Secretary’s message also includes links to various avenues of redress for
employees who have experienced retaliation because of whistleblowing or filing
an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint.
On July 11, 2014, VA registered for and published an implementation plan to receive
OSC’s Section 2302(c) Certification Program.
OSC’s Section 2302(c)
Certification Program assists VA in meeting its statutory obligation to
inform its employees about the rights and remedies available to them under the
law. On October 3, 2014,
OSC certified VA
under its Section 2302(c) Certification Program.
Under the OSC certification process, VA:
(1) placed informational posters regarding prohibited personnel practices (PPP)
(PDF), whistleblowing (PDF), and whistleblower retaliation (PDF) in a public
setting at VA facilities and VA personnel and equal employment opportunity
(2) provided and will continue to provide new hires with written materials on
PPP, whistleblowing, and whistleblower retaliation. These materials can be found
(3) developed a webpage on PPP and whistleblower rights and protections; and
(4) developed, in cooperation with the OSC, supervisory training on PPP and
whistleblower rights and protections. VA executives, managers, and supervisors
must complete this training on a biennial basis.
Important information for employees who have signed non-disclosure agreements -
PDF and Word.
- OSC Posters
- By direction of the Deputy Secretary, the
following posters must be placed in a public setting at all VA facilities and at
all VA personnel and EEO offices:
- By direction of the Deputy Secretary, new hires to VA must be provided with a
hard-copy of the following publications during employee orientation:
- Whistleblowing (PDF)
- Whistleblower Retaliation (PDF)
- Prohibited Personnel Practices (PDF)
- Know Your Rights When Reporting Wrongs (PDF)
- Your Rights as a Federal Employee (PDF)
- Prevention of Workplace Harassment and Notification and Federal Employee
Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No FEAR Act) – VA employees must
complete this training on a biennial basis. Employees may access this training
through VA’s Talent Management System
(course ID 8872).
- The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) offers
training to federal
agencies and non-federal organizations in each of the areas within OSC’s
jurisdiction. Employees may access this training through VA’s
Talent Management System (course ID
3883649 or DVA-034 ).
- OSC offers training to
Federal agencies in areas within OSC’s jurisdiction.