DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
Public Health Service
Food and Drug Administration
Date: January 4, 2016
From: Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs
Subject: Whistleblower Protection and NO FEAR Act Policy Statement
To: All FDA Employees
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established itself as an agency that upholds its strict code of conduct with exacting standards. For this reason, I strongly support the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) of 1989 and the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) of 2012, which affords employees the legal protection to report allegations of official wrongdoing without fear of reprisal. Under the WPA and WPEA, employees and applicants are entitled to all the protection which prohibits retaliation for reporting waste, fraud, and abuse. This law preserves the integrity and high standards of the scientific processes that guide our agency. The FDA further supports the rights of all employees to engage in protected activity under current civil rights statutes and Executive Orders.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is empowered to administer an impartial and effective complaint management process to address complaints of whistleblower retaliation for most of the Executive Branch, including the FDA. Reprisal against individuals will not be tolerated for disclosure of information in which the employee believes there is reasonable belief of violation of any law, rule or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety. Reprisal for whistleblowing includes taking or failing to take, or threatening to take a personnel action with respect to any employee because of a protected disclosure of information.
Employees may report allegations of reprisal for whistleblowing to the Office of the Special Counsel at https://osc.gov/ or contact them on 1-800-872-9855. Employees may also raise such allegations to the Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General at www.oig.hhs.gov or contact them on 1 -800- 447-8477.
The Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation (NO FEAR) Act of 2002 mandates that all Federal employees must be trained concerning their rights and protections under the antidiscrimination and whistleblower laws within ninety (90) days of their entrance into the Federal government and every two years thereafter. The FDA offers an on-line training course for new hires and current employees. Please take the time to learn more about your rights and responsibilities under these important laws.
This memorandum supersedes the memorandum from the Commissioner of Food and Drugs dated May 5, 2014 to all FDA employees.
Stephen Ostroff, M.D.