While federal employee whistleblowers now receive plenty of protection under the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012, until recently, Department of Defense (DoD) contractors and subcontractors had limited whistleblower protection. For the most part, contractors had to report their suspicions of fraud directly to the Inspector General, a government contract manager, or Congress, and still were not protected if they internally reported their suspicions within their own company. On the other hand, subcontractors barely received any protection if their employer retaliated against them, whether the wrongdoing was reported internally or to a government office.
According to Marguerite C. Garrison, the DoD deputy inspector general for administrative investigations, “Congress has recognized that there have been some loopholes in the provisions, and that the protections didn’t expand to everyone.”
Fortunately, these loopholes have now been addressed as part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. This Act provides whistleblower protection to contractors and subcontractors when they report what they reasonably believe is fraud, waste, or abuse on a federal contract. These protections apply whether the whistleblower’s suspicions are right or wrong.
Under the new law, any employee who works on a federal defense contract or under an amended defense contract signed on or after July 1, 2013, is protected. Notably, this protection is not retroactive and therefore, does not apply to contracts signed prior to July 1, 2013. It also does not apply to contractors who work for the Intelligence Community, although they should be protected under the 1998 Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act. Therefore, if an employee of a federal contractor or subcontractor suspect that their company is overbilling the government, discarding good equipment, or anything else that could reasonably be interpreted as fraud, waste, or the mismanagement of government resources, then this can be reported with assurance of protection from retaliation.
There are also additional protections to a whistleblower that works for a defense contractor that reports that the company is defrauding the government. Under the False Claims Act, if a defense contractor or other company that does business with the government retaliates against an employee because they are considering reporting fraud against the government, the employee is entitled to double damages for any retaliation. The only requirement is a good faith belief that fraud against the government is taking place.
The good news is that an employee working for a defense contractor is also entitled to large financial rewards for reporting fraud against the government. Under the False Claims Act, the U.S. Department of Justice pays rewards of between 15% and 25% of the money the government collects based on you reporting fraud.
However, there are some steps to take to become eligible, and you should contact an attorney with experience in handling whistleblower reward cases. Your information will be treated as confidential, and is protected under the various laws discussed above.
The information on the links below show you how to contact me to review in confidence your potential whistleblower reward claim for reporting fraud against the government.