Notice of Implementation of Pilot Program for Enhancement of Employee Whistleblower Protections

Notice Number: NOT-OD-14-068

Key Dates
Release Date: March 7, 2014

Related Announcements
None

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Purpose

Implementation of "Pilot Program for Enhancement of Employee Whistleblower Protections."

Notices of Award

This Notice serves to amend the Terms and Conditions of all grants issued on or after July 1, 2013, to incorporate the requirements of the "Pilot Program for Enhancement of Contractor Employee Whistleblower Protections" referenced below. See, 48 CFR 3.908.  Prospectively, all Notices of Award issued through January 1, 2017, will include by reference these requirements as a term and condition of the award

See the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants webpage for standard and special terms and conditions applicable to NIH grants.

Funding Opportunity Announcements

This Notice also serves to amend all Funding Opportunity Announcements resulting in an award made on or after July 1, 2013, to incorporate the requirements of the "Pilot Program for Enhancement of Contractor Employee Whistleblower Protections" referenced above.  Prospectively, all Funding Opportunity Announcements resulting in an award made through January 1, 2017, will include by reference the requirements below. 

Pilot Program for Enhancement of Contractor Employee Whistleblower Protections
Congress has enacted many whistleblower protection statutes to encourage employees to report fraud, waste, and abuse.  The latest whistleblower protection statutes went into effect on July 1, 2013.  The statute, 41 U.S.C. §4712, applies to all employees working for contractors, grantees, subcontractors and subgrantees on federal grants and contracts.  The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 (Pub. L. 112-239, enacted January 2, 2013) mandates a pilot program titled "Pilot Program for Enhancement of Contractor Employee Whistleblower Protections."

This program requires all grantees, their subgrantees and subcontractors to:
1.  Inform their employees working on any Federal award that they are subject to the whistleblower rights and remedies of the pilot program;
2.  Inform their employees in writing of employee whistleblower protections under 41 U.S.C. §4712 in the predominant native language of the workforce; and,
3.  Contractors and grantees will include such requirements in any agreement made with a subcontractor or subgrantee.

The statute (41 U.S.C. §4712) states than an "employee of a contractor, subcontractor, grantee [or subgrantee] may not be discharged, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against as a reprisal for "whistleblowing."  In addition, whistleblower protections cannot be waived by any agreement, policy, form or condition of employment.

Whistleblowing is defined as making a disclosure "that the employee reasonably believes" is evidence of any of the following:

  • Gross mismanagement of a Federal contract or grant;
  • A gross waste of Federal funds;
  • An abuse of authority relating to a Federal contract or grant;
  • A substantial and specific danger to public health or safety; or,
  • A violation of law, rule, or regulation related to a Federal contract or grant (including the competition for, or negotiation of, a contract or grant).

To qualify under the statute, the employee's disclosure must be made to:

  • A Member of Congress, or a representative of a Congressional Committee;
  • An Inspector General;
  • The Government Accountability Office;
  • A federal employee responsible for contract or grant oversight or management at the relevant agency;
  • A court or grand jury; or,
  • A management official or other employee of the contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or subgrantee who has the responsibility to investigate, discover or address misconduct.

The requirement to comply with, and inform all employees of, the "Pilot Program for Enhancement of Contractor Employee Whistleblower Protections" is retroactively effective for all grants and subgrants issued beginning July 1, 2013.

Inquiries

For general inquiries on this Notice, please contact: 

Division of Grants Policy
Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration
National Institutes of Health
Telephone: 301-435-0938
Email: GrantsPolicy@od.nih.gov

 

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