June 28, 2013 – Starting July 1, 2013, whistleblowers employed by Defense Department subcontractors will be protected from retaliation under new provisions contained in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. Under the new law, whistleblower protections will also be extended to cover employees that report violations internally and are subject to retaliation.
Under the prior law, employees of DoD subcontractors were not covered by the whistleblower retaliation protections. Nor did the law protect employees of DoD contractors who reported a violation internally, but did not report the violation to a government agency. The new law will only be applicable to contracts made on or after July 1, or task orders on existing contracts that are made after July 1.
“Congress has recognized that there have been some loopholes in the provisions, and that the protections didn’t expand to everyone,” explained Marguerite C. Garrison, deputy inspector general for administrative investigations at the Department of Defense.
Nilgun Tolek, who directs investigations against whistleblower reprisals for the Defense Department inspector general’s office, told reporters that the change “brings the statute up to par with existing whistleblower protections.” He also explained that the “law will provide added protection to whistleblowers from retaliation by requiring ‘clear and convincing evidence’ that a contractor would have taken the same disciplinary action against an employee even if he or she had not come forward with an allegation of abuse,” according to an American Forces Press Service release.
Whistleblowers that have information about government fraud by Department of Defense contractors or subcontractors may be able to receive a portion of any government recovery by filing a whistleblower, or qui tam, complaint under the False Claims Act. A False Claims Act whistleblower complaint cannot be filed without an attorney according to federal law.