Whistleblowers

Rights and Remedies for Whistleblowers under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Pilot Program

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Pilot Program has implemented enhanced whistleblower protections for employees of Federal contractors and subcontractors for the period from July 1, 2013 through January 1, 2017.

What is prohibited?

As a Federal contractor/subcontractor, the University is prohibited from discharging, demoting, or otherwise discriminating against an employee as a reprisal for disclosing to any of the entities listed below (see Entities/Persons to whom disclosures may be made), information that the employee reasonably believes is evidence of any of the following:

•  Gross mismanagement of a Federal contract
•  Gross waste of Federal funds
•   Abuse of authority relating to a Federal contract ("abuse of authority" is defined as an "arbitrary and capricious exercise of authority that is inconsistent with the mission of the executive agency . . . or the successful performance of a[n agency] contract [or grant]")
•  A substantial and special danger to public health or safety
•  A violation of law, rule, or regulation related to a Federal contract (including the competition for or negotiation of a contract.)

Employees who disclose this type of information to the following persons or entities are protected:

•   A Member of Congress
•   An Inspector General
•   The Government Accountability Office
•    A Federal Employee responsible for contract oversight or management at the relevant agency
•    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 University who has the responsibility to investigate, discover, or address misconduct

The pilot program also protects an employee who initiates or provides evidence of misconduct in any judicial or administrative proceeding relating to waste, fraud, or abuse on a federal contract or grant.

Submitting Complaints to the University of Memphis

An employee of the University who believes that he or she has been discharged, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against for having made a disclosure of the type described above may submit a complaint to Research Compliance within three (3) years of the date on which the alleged reprisal took place.

The University is committed to operating with integrity and in full compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and policies, and it does not tolerate retaliation against individuals who report compliance concerns in good faith.

Submitting Complaints to Funding Agencies

Whistleblowers may also file complaints with federal agencies if they believe they were discriminated against for their disclosure of information, provided those complaints are submitted within three years of the date of the alleged discrimination. Whistleblowers may submit complaints to the Inspector General of the federal agency involved. The Inspector General will generally perform an investigation and submit a report to the federal agency, which then determines whether sufficient basis exists to conclude that discrimination occurred. If the agency determines that discrimination has occurred, the pilot program sets out remedies that may be available, including ordering an institution to reverse the reprisal, reinstate the employee with compensatory damages and employment benefits, and/or pay costs reasonably incurred by the whistleblower in bringing the complaint. The institution has the right to appeal any agency order to the relevant United States court.