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Whistleblower Protection and NO FEAR Act Policy Statement

Public Health Service
Food and Drug Administration


Date: July 26, 2017

From: Commissioner of Food and Drugs

Subject: Whistleblower Protection and NO FEAR Act Policy Statement

To: All FDA Employees

The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) of 1989 and the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) of 2012 afford employees legal protection to report allegations of official wrongdoing without fear of reprisal. Under the WPA and WPEA, employees and applicants are protected from retaliation for reporting waste, fraud, and abuse. These laws preserve the integrity and high standards of the scientific processes that guide our agency and help to ensure we remain responsible stewards of the public trust and I encourage all employees to familiarize themselves with these protections. 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 FDA. Reprisal will not be tolerated for disclosure of information which an employee or applicant reasonably believes demonstrates: a 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, failing to take, or threatening to take, any personnel action with respect to any employee or applicant because of a protected disclosure of information.

Employees may report allegations of reprisal for whistleblowing to the Office of Special Counsel at https://osc.gov/ or 1-800-872-9855. Employees may also raise such allegations to the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of the Inspector General at www.oig.hhs.gov or 1-800-447-8477.

The Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation (NO FEAR) Act of 2002 mandates that all Federal employees 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. 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 at: http://inside.fda.gov:9003/EmployeeResources/EqualEmploymentOpportunity/EEOTraining/ucm011453.htm

This memorandum supersedes the memorandum from the Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs dated January 4, 2016 to all FDA employees.

Scott Gottlieb, M.D.

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