Employee Whistleblower Protection

Pilot Program for Enhancement of Employee Whistleblower Protection (41 U.S.C. 4712)

The University of Minnesota is committed to complying with local, state, and federal laws and regulations as well as University policies. If you are concerned about a possible violation of law or policy, you may first consider raising it within your own college or unit or contacting a specialized central office. The University also offers a confidential reporting service called Ureport. Access Ureport through their website or by calling (866) 294-8680.

No one acting on behalf of the University may retaliate against an individual for having made a report in good faith. 

On July 1, 2013, Congress enacted the Pilot Program for Enhancement of Employee Whistleblower Protection (found in 41 U.S.C. 4712 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), P.L. 112-239 for fiscal year 2013) which is in effect until January 1, 2017. This Pilot Program applies to all employees working for contractors, grantees, subcontractors, and subgrantees on federal grants and contracts.     

An employee of a contractor, subcontractor, grantee (or subgrantee) may not be discharged, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against in reprisal for whistleblowing. In addition, whistleblower protections cannot be waived by any agreement, policy, form, or condition of employment.

“Whistleblowing” means reporting information the employee reasonably believes is evidence of wrongdoing, including:

  • Gross mismanagement of a federal contract or grant
  • The 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
  • A violation of law or regulation related to a federal contract or grant (including the competition for, or negotiation of, a contract or grant)

The statute’s whistleblower protections are triggered if an employee discloses such information 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
  • An official from the Department of Justice, or other law enforcement agency
  • A court or grand jury
  • A management official or other employee of the contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or sub-grantee who has the responsibility to investigate, discover, or address misconduct

Additional details may be found in the full statute 41 U.S.C. 4712 as well as the Federal Register/Vol. 78, No. 189.