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Whistleblower Protections

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) provides a secure channel through which current and former federal employees and applicants for Federal employment may make confidential disclosures. OSC evaluates the disclosures to determine whether there is a substantial likelihood that one of the categories listed above has been disclosed. If such a determination is made, OSC has the authority to require the head of the Agency to investigate the matter.

In addition, if you believe any actions have been taken against you as a result of reprisal for making a protected whistleblowing disclosure or for engaging in any of the protected activities outlined in 5 U.S.C. § 2302 (b) (9), you may have the option to file a complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC).  “Whistleblowing” is the disclosure of information that an individual reasonably believes shows a violation of law, rule, or regulation, gross mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority, or substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.  Note that personnel assigned to agencies whose primary function is intelligence, counterintelligence or national security work, as designated by the President, have limited ability to file an OSC complaint.  However, recent passage of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act may impact your ability to file a complaint.  Individuals who believe they may have a whistleblower complaint should seek guidance from OSC.  However, individuals should be mindful that filing an MSPB appeal or EEO complaint each has very strict time filing requirements that will not be set aside while an employee considers OSC options. There is no specific time limit for filing a complaint with the OSC. You can file an OSC complaint at or call (202) 804-7000 or email

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All Commands are required to meet the statutory obligation to inform their workforces about the rights and remedies available to them under the prohibited personnel practice and whistleblower retaliation protection provisions of 5 U.S.C. § 2302.1. We are required to comply with several Whistleblower Protection requirements on an annual basis. 


Specifically, Commands are required to:

  • Ensure employees receive yearly information about whistleblower protection laws, with new  employees receiving the information within 180 days of being hired;  

  • Provide annual  training to supervisors on how to respond  to complaints involving whistleblower protections; and

  • Ensure supervisory performance is assessed on compliance with whistleblower protections.  


Required Action(s):

  • Print and post the attached OSC Posters on all of your official bulletin boards within your respective departments;

  • Ensure Sample Memo for Annual OSC Notification) is distributed to each employee as soon as possible. Each Command must maintain copies of the signed letters so they are readily available; and

  • Ensure Supervisors Responding to Complaints PPT is distributed to all supervisors (both military and civilian) with instructions to read the training slides.


Additionally, please ensure the attached OSC Posters are placed on your local website (if you have one) and be sure to include the OSC website address as a link: Finally, please ensure all rating officials have the required whistleblower protection job element/performance standard in their performance plans. If you have questions regarding the required performance standard, please contact your assigned LER Specialist for assistance. To locate your assigned LER Specialist, please click HERE.

Documents available for download:
2018 Agency Requirements Memo (PDF) 
New Prohibited Personnel Practice (PPP) Poster 1.18.18 (PDF)
Whistleblowing Poster 1.19.18 (PDF)
Your Rights as a Federal Employee (PDF)
Sample Memo for Annual OSC Notification (WORD)
Whistleblower Retaliation Poster 1.19.18 (PDF)
Know Your Rights When Reporting Wrongs (PDF)
Supervisors Responding to Complaints (PPT)