Whistleblower protections expanded to include Department of Defense subcontractors

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Whistleblowers who work for Department of Defense
subcontractors will begin receiving protection against reprisals under a new law that’s set
to go into effect July 1.

The new provision is part of the 2013 Defense Authorization
Act. It covers Pentagon subcontractors working on DOD contracts, modified
contracts, grants and task orders, according to Marguerite Garrison, deputy
inspector general for administrative investigations.

“Before when we got a complaint from a subcontractor they
weren’t covered, so we (Office of Inspector General) did not conduct an
investigation,” Garrison said.

The change expands whistleblower protection to all defense
subcontractors, as well as employees who report wrongdoing internally as
opposed to a government agency. A loophole in the previous law did not protect
subcontractors from reprisals if they made their complaint internally – such as
to a supervisor or on a company hotline – as opposed to a government agency.

“What this was before was the subcontractor could make a
claim to his boss — usually internally — and we found that they weren’t making
the disclosure to a government official, they were making it to their
management,” she said in an interview with American Forces Press Service. “Now
they are covered if they make that statement or that complaint to their
management official.”

The new law also expands whom whistleblowers can disclose
the information about waste, fraud or abuse to now include “a court or a grand jury, as well as
management officials or other employees of the contractor or subcontractor who
has the responsibility to investigate, discover or address the misconduct,”
Garrison said.

The stipulations will only apply to existing contracts if
they are modified on or after July 1.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2013/06/whistleblower_protections_expa.html