HHS-OIG processes only those whistleblower complaints that fall within its jurisdiction and meet certain requirements. Protected whistleblowers are those who have exposed fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement or unlawful activity within a HHS agency, contractor, subcontractor, grantee or subgrantee organization, and the law prohibits employers from taking retaliatory actions against them. Below is information that HHS-OIG looks for when evaluating the eligibility of a whistleblower retaliation complaint.
Who do you work for?
To file a whistleblower retaliation complaint with HHS-OIG, you must be a Federal employee or applicant for HHS or one of its agencies. Or, you must work for a non-federal employer that receives HHS contract or grant funding.
Who is eligible?
Examples of those who could meet the eligibility criteria include:
- HHS Employees or applicants for HHS employment or its agencies
- HHS contractors or subcontractors
- Medicare or Medicaid contractors
- Grantees for an HHS program
- U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers
Who is not eligible?
Examples of those who are not eligible include:
- Employees of non-HHS Federal agencies
- State or local government employees
- Healthcare providers who are not employed by HHS contractors or grantees (Medicare / Medicaid provider agreements are not HHS contracts)
- Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries
- Insurance beneficiaries
Did you submit a protected communication?
A protected communication occurs when an employee discloses fraud, waste, abuse or mismanagement to a person with supervisory authority over the employee, the Inspector General, the Comptroller General, the Office of Special Counsel, a member of Congress, a state or federal regulatory or law enforcement agency, a court or grand jury, the head of a federal agency or his/her representatives, or individuals responsible for the management of a contract or grant (e.g., contracting officer).
Were you retaliated against?
Your employer cannot take action against you for disclosing wrongdoing. Examples of actions that could be considered retaliatory include:
- Poor performance reviews
- Demotion or termination
- Denial of training or travel
- Reassignments or assignments to duties inappropriate for one’s grade level
- Failure to promote or appoint to a position
- Denial of benefits or telework
- Retaliatory investigations
- Other adverse personnel actions
When filing your complaint, be ready with a description of the retaliatory action that happened to you and the responsible management official’s name.
What are your options to file a complaint?
- You should decide if you want to disclose personal information. You are not required to do so, but the investigation will be limited unless we can contact you. Learn more about your options for Disclosing Your Identity
- If you are a civilian HHS employee and are concerned that filing your complaint with HHS-OIG hotlines may result in further retaliation, you may wish to file your complaint with the Office of Special Counsel
- If you are a HHS employee, and want to know more about you options, you may contact the Whistleblower Protection Coordinator.
Report Whistleblower Retaliation
HHS-OIG accepts and investigates complaints from whistleblowers who reported wrongdoing at HHS, its agencies and some non-federal employers and were retaliated against because of it. Our online form provides a secure route for whistleblowers to submit a detailed complaint about their experience.