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The federal government has enacted a pilot program, effective until January 1, 2017, to add protections
for employees against reprisal for certain whistleblowing activities in connection with federal grants and

The pilot program is established at 41 U.S.C. 4712 by section 828 of the National Defense Authorization
Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (Pub. L. 112-239) and Federal Acquisition Regulation 3.908. While the provisions
of the program are summarized below, more detailed information about rights and remedies under the
program may be found by consulting the new statute at the US Code House website and the
implementing regulations at the Federal Register. The pilot program requires that MSU provide information to employees about the program and that information is provided below.

Protected Disclosures

The Pilot Program requires that employers cannot discharge, demote, or otherwise discriminate against
an employee as a reprisal for disclosing information (except for classified information) that the
employee reasonably believes is evidence of any of the following:

  • A 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 (where “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 [federal] contract or grant . . . .”)
  • A substantial and specific danger to public health or safety; or
  • A violation of law, rule, or regulation related to a federal contract (including competition for or
    negotiation of a contract) or grant.

Employees who disclose these types of information to the following persons or entities are protected: 

  • A member of Congress or a representative of a committee of Congress;
  • An Inspector General;
  • The Government Accountability Office;
  • A federal employee responsible for contract or grant oversight or management at the relevant
    federal agency;
  • An authorized official of the Department of Justice or other law enforcement agency;
  • A court or grand jury; or
  • A management official or other employee of MSU who has the responsibility to investigate,
    discover, or address misconduct. (How to make a complaint to MSU officials is described

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 MSU

MSU 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. There are a number of resources available to individuals who have such a concern. You may
be able to discuss the concern with a supervisor or another responsible person in your own unit, or with
one of the many specialized compliance offices around the University. Any employee with concerns of
any kind stemming from possible noncompliance or irregularities may also report them to the University
Hotline anonymously and without fear of retaliation. Compliance reports may be submitted 24 hours a
day by phone at 855-753-0486 or on the internet at Ethics Point. For more information about the hotline and to file a report online, please go to the University Compliance website

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. The following links to the federal agency
websites provide procedures for submitting complaints: