Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA)

The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) protects Federal employees and applicants for employment who lawfully disclose information they reasonably believe evidences:

  •  a violation of law, rule, or regulation;
  •  gross mismanagement;
  •  a gross waste of funds;
  •  an abuse of authority;
  •  or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.  

Under the WPA, certain federal employees may not take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take; any personnel action against an employee or applicant for employment because of the employee or applicant’s protected whistleblowing. See 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(8).

Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA)

In 2012 Congress passed the WPEA into law to strengthen protections for Federal employees who report fraud, waste, and abuse. The WPEA clarifies the scope of protected disclosures and establishes that the disclosure does not lose protection because:

  • the disclosure was made to someone, including a supervisor, who participated in the wrongdoing disclosed; 
  • the wrongdoing being reported has previously been disclosed; 
  • of the employee’s motive for reporting the wrongdoing;
  • the disclosure was made while the employee was off duty; 
  • the disclosure was made during the employee’s normal course of duty, if the employee can show that the personnel action was taken in reprisal for the disclosure; or
  • the amount of time which has passed since the occurrence of the events described in the disclosure.
  • The WPEA protects disclosures that an employee reasonably believes are evidence of censorship related to research, analysis, or technical information that causes, or will cause, a gross government waste or gross mismanagement, an abuse of authority, a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or any violation of law.  It expands the penalties imposed for violating whistleblower protections and establishes the position of Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman. 

Enhancement of Contractor Protection from Reprisal (41 U.S.C. § 4712)

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (NDAA), enacted a pilot program making it illegal for an employee of a Federal contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or subgrantee to be discharged, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against for making a protected whistleblower disclosure. In 2016, Congress amended the program to make those protections permanent.

Whistleblower Ombudsman

Pursuant to the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012, the CPSC established a Whistleblower Ombudsman to educate agency employees about prohibitions on retaliation for whistleblowing, as well as employees' rights and remedies if subjected to retaliation for making a protected disclosure.

The Ombudsman is prohibited by law from acting as a Whistleblower's representative, agent, or advocate.

The CPSC Whistleblower Ombudsman can be contacted at DSimpson@cpsc.gov.

Office of Special Counsel

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent federal agency that investigates and prosecutes prohibited personnel practices by federal agencies, including whistleblower retaliation. 

For more information on WPA and WPEA protections please visit Know Your Rights When Reporting Wrongs.

Contact Information For Whistleblowers

If you believe you have been subject to retaliation for protected whistleblowing you may contact either of the following offices:  

The Consumer Product Safety Commission Office of Inspector General:
Telephone: (301) 504-7906 or 866-230-6229
Email: CPSCIG@cpsc.gov
Written correspondence: Office of Inspector General
Consumer Product Safety Commission
4330 East-West Highway
Room 702
Bethesda, MD 20814

Office of Special Counsel
Telephone: 202-254-3640 or 800-572-2249
Federal Relay Service: 800-877-8339
1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 218
Washington, DC 20036-4505
www.osc.gov.