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Whistleblowers Have a Duty to Report

Jan. 14 2018

by Freddy Groves
If you're in a position to do a little whistleblowing about things going on where you work at the Department of Veterans Affairs, your input might be more valuable than you realize.
Fact: In the past six months alone, the impact of investigations by the VA Office of the Inspector General was huge. OIG audits, investigations, inspections and evaluations identified $9 billion in monetary benefits. That included 162 arrests and 1,123 administrative sanctions. 
The VAOIG webpage talks about "identifying the underlying causes of problems," and in my mind that involves, at least in part, whistleblowers who step forward. 
That six-month period mentioned above included information sent by letters, calls, emails and web submissions to the Hotline Division, a total of 20,204 contacts made by veterans, the public, employees and other agencies. Not all complaints were substantiated, of course, but enough were to make it worthwhile to speak up. There were 53 whistleblowers who claimed retaliation and sought protection.
Per the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, whistleblower disclosures are protected against demotion, suspensions, terminations and poor performance reviews. In addition, there is a whistleblower ombudsman. Allegations of reprisals are sent to the Office of Special Counsel.
If you're hesitant to report wrongdoing, especially if it involves the health and well-being of veterans or stealing money in some way from the VA, remember why you're there. The veterans come first.
If you want to think about it before you take that first step, go online to to learn more. You'll find a Submit a Complaint button to click. You also can call the Hotline at 1-800-488-8244 to talk about it. 
While you're on the Hotline webpage, click on the Duty to Report graphic on the left. Federal law says you have a duty to report felonies happening at the VA.
(c) 2017 King Features Synd., Inc.


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