Image of NDAA Contractor Whistleblower Protection Law Highly Effective in Rooting Out Fraud

NDAA Contractor Whistleblower Protection Law Highly Effective in Rooting Out Fraud

NDAA Whistleblower Law Effective in Protecting Disclosures About Government Contractor Fraud

In an article titled “New law drove whistleblower complaints against DOD contractors up,” Jill Aitoro reports that the NDAA whistleblower protection provisions, which became effective one year ago, have generated a substantial increase in whistleblower complaints to the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General.  According to the article, “the rate of complaints from Defense Department whistleblowers increased from about four to six a month as of August 2013 to more than 200 since Jan. 1.”  In addition, the article reports that whistleblower disclosures about DOD contractor fraud have resulted in several substantial recoveries for the government.

Sections 827 and 828 of the NDAA provide robust whistleblower protection to employees of most government contractors and grantees.  Under the NDAA whistleblower protection provisions, protected conduct includes the disclosure of information that the employee reasonably believes is evidence of:

  • gross mismanagement of a Federal contract or grant;
  • a gross waste of Federal funds;
  • an abuse of authority  relating to a Federal contract or grant; or
  • a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or a violation of law, rule, or regulation related to a Federal contract.

To be protected, the disclosure must be made to a Member of Congress or Congressional committee, an IG, the GAO, a federal employee responsible for contract or grant oversight or management at the relevant agency, an authorized official of DOJ or other law enforcement agency, a court or grand jury or a management official or other employee of the contractor or subcontractor who has the responsibility to investigate, discover, or address misconduct.

To learn more about the NDAA whistleblower protection law, see our post Congress Strengthens Whistleblower Protections for Federal Employees and our Practical Law Practice Note: “Whistleblower Protections Under the National Defense Authorization Act.”

Proving NDAA Whistleblower Retaliation

The burden of proof and causation standard in NDAA whistleblower cases is very favorable to employees. The complainant prevails merely by demonstrating that the protected disclosure was a contributing factor in the personnel action, which can be met by showing knowledge and temporal proximity.

Remedies for Prevailing NDAA Whistleblowers

Remedies for prevailing whistleblowers in NDAA retaliation actions include reinstatement, back pay, uncapped compensatory damages (emotional distress damages) and attorney fees and costs.

Procedures for Filing a NDAA Whistleblower Retaliation Claim

An NDAA retaliation claim must be filed initially with the Office of Inspector of General of the agency that awarded the contract or grant about which the employee disclosed wrongdoing, and the statute of limitations is three years after the date of the reprisal.  The OIG will investigate the complaint and make recommendations to the agency head.  If the agency head fails to provide requested relief within 210 days, the whistleblower may bring an action in federal district court and try the case before a jury.

Experienced False Claims Act and NDAA Whistleblower Protection Attorneys

best sexual harassment attorneys Washington DC Maryland VirginiaThe experienced whistleblower attorneys at Zuckerman Law have substantial experience representing whistleblowers disclosing fraud and other wrongdoing at government contractors and grantees.

To schedule a free preliminary consultation, click here or call us at 202-262-8959.

Our experience includes representing whistleblowers in NDAA retaliation claims before the Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice Offices of Inspectors General.

In addition, we have substantial experience representing whistleblowers under the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) and enforcing the WPA, the law that the NDAA whistleblower provisions are based upon. Two of the attorneys on our team served in senior position at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel overseeing investigations of whistleblower retaliation claims and whistleblower disclosures:

  • Eric Bachman served as Deputy Special Counsel, Litigation and Legal Affairs, OSC, where he spearheaded an initiative to combat whistleblower retaliation at the Department of Veterans Affairs.  During Bachman’s tenure at OSC, the number of favorable actions for whistleblowers increased by over 50% agency-wide.
  • Jason Zuckerman served as Senior Legal Advisor to the Special Counsel at OSC, where he worked on implementation of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act and several high-profile investigations.

We have also written extensively about whistleblower protections for employees of government contractors and grantees, including the following articles and blog posts:

whistleblower_lawyers_012017_infographic
Avatar of Jason Zuckerman

Jason Zuckerman, Principal of Zuckerman Law, litigates whistleblower retaliation, qui tam, wrongful discharge, and other employment-related claims. He is rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo, was recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” in 2015 and selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® and in SuperLawyers.