Whistleblower protections for contractor employees has been on the books for a number of years. The newly proposed legislation extends this protection to subcontractor employees. It significantly broadens the scope of the protection from violations of law, to violations of law, rule, or regulation. It also broadens the number of people to whom disclosure is protected. Under the proposed legislation, disclosures to the following will be protected:
- A member of Congress or a representative of a committee of Congress
- An inspector general
- The Government Accountability Office (GAO)
- A DoD employee responsible for contract oversight or management (this would included DCAA and DCMA)
- An authorized official of the Department of Justice or other law enforcement agency
- A court or grand jury.
- A management official or other employee of the contractor or subcontractor who has the responsibility to investigate, discover, or address misconduct.
Other changes to the whistleblower statute include:
- Reprisal is prohibited even if it is undertaken at the request of a DoD official (we wonder what event might have prompted this prohibition).
- Complaints must be brought within three years of the date on which the alleged reprisal took place.
- Compensatory damages are now allowed (could be significant for a contractor or subcontractor and the cost would not be allowable under Government contracts).
- Contractors and subcontractors must notify employees in writing of their rights and remedies (presumably, this will have to be more than something buried in fine print).