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DoDIG can only accept UNCLASSIFIED complaints on this website.

However, instructions for submitting a classified complaint are contained on this website. 
Visit the Classified Complaints page for more information.

The Department of Defense Hotline - Hotline Complaint


What is a Whistleblower Reprisal Complaint?

Reprisal happens when a management official takes (or, under certain statutes, threatens to take) an unfavorable personnel action against an individual, or withholds (or, under certain statutes, threatens to withhold) a favorable personnel action, because that individual made or was thought to have made a protected communication or disclosure.

A complaint of reprisal must meet the following three conditions:

1: Was there a protected communication or disclosure?

A protected communication/disclosure is made to someone designated by law, rule or regulation to receive the information. Applicable content requirements for the communication/disclosure, and authorized recipients, are prescribed by statute.

For Military Members: Protected communications include: any lawful communication to a Member of Congress or an IG; a communication that a military member reasonably believes evidences a violation of law or regulation, including a law or regulation prohibiting rape, sexual assault, or other sexual misconduct in violation of articles 120 through 120c of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination, gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds or other resources, an abuse of authority, a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or a threat by another member of the armed forces or employee of the Federal Government that indicates a determination or intent to kill or cause serious bodily injury to members of the armed forces or civilians or damage to military, Federal, or civilian property, when the communication is made to: a member of Congress; an IG; a member of a DoD audit, inspection, or law enforcement organization; any person or organization in the chain of command; a court-martial proceeding; or any other person designated pursuant to regulations or other established administrative procedures to receive such communications. Testimony or otherwise participating in or assisting in an investigation or proceeding related to a protected communication or filing, participating in, or otherwise assisting in an action taken under 10 USC 1034. Communications will not be excluded from these protections because: the communication was made to a person who participated in an activity that is the subject of a protected communication; the communication revealed information that had been previously disclosed; of the member’s motives for making the communication; the communication was not made in writing; the communication was made while the member was off duty; and the communication was made during the course of duties of the member. (See 10 U.S.C. §1034 and DoD Directive 7050.06. for more information)

For Nonappropriated Fund (NAF) Employees: Protected disclosures include: Disclosures not specifically prohibited by law and if the information is not specifically required by or pursuant to executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or the conduct of foreign affairs, so long as the NAF employee, former employee, or applicant reasonably believes the disclosure evidences: a violation of law, rule, or regulation; or mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety. Additionally, for matters in which disclosure is specifically prohibited by law, or if the information is specifically required by or pursuant to executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or the conduct of foreign affairs, a NAF employee, former employee, or applicant is protected from reprisal only if he/she makes such disclosure to any civilian employee or member of the armed forces designated by law or by the Secretary of Defense to receive such disclosure. The disclosure must be one that the NAF employee, former employee, or applicant reasonably believes evidences: a violation of law, rule or regulation; or mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety. (See 10 U.S.C. §1587 and DoD Directive 1401.03.) For Defense Contractors (for contracts signed prior to July 1, 2013): Protected disclosures include disclosures alleging gross mismanagement of a DoD contract or grant; a gross waste of DoD funds; a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety; or violation of law related to a DoD contract (including the competition for or negotiation of a contract) or grant; made to: a member of Congress; a representative of a committee of Congress; an Inspector General that receives funding from or has oversight over contracts awarded for or on behalf of DoD; the Government Accountability Office; a DoD employee responsible for contract oversight or management; or an authorized official of an agency or the Department of Justice. "Authorized official of an agency" means an officer or employee responsible for contracting, program management, audit, inspection, investigation, or enforcement of any law or regulation relating to Government procurement or the subject matter of the contract. "Agency" is defined as the Departments of Defense, Army Navy or Air Force; Coast Guard, or National Aeronautics and Space Administration. For Defense Contractors and Subcontractors (for contracts signed or modified on or after July 1, 2013): Protected disclosures include disclosures alleging gross mismanagement of a DoD contract or grant; a gross waste of DoD funds; an abuse of authority relating to a DoD contract or grant; a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety; or violation of law, rule, or regulation related to a DoD contract (including the competition for or negotiation of a contract) or grant; made to: a member of Congress; a representative of a committee of Congress; an Inspector General that receives funding from or has oversight over contracts awarded for or on behalf of DoD; the Government Accountability Office; a DoD employee responsible for contract oversight or management; an authorized official of an agency or the Department of Justice. "Authorized official of an agency" means an officer or employee responsible for contracting, program management, audit, inspection, investigation, or enforcement of any law or regulation relating to Government procurement or the subject matter of the contract. "Agency" is defined as the Departments of Defense, Army Navy or Air Force; Coast Guard, or National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 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 within the company. (See 10 U.S.C. §2409 and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations (DFARS) Subpart 203.9.)

For Appropriated Fund Civilians: Protected disclosures include disclosures to the Office of Special Counsel, an IG, or other entities designated to receive such disclosures of information reasonably believed by the employee to evidence a violation of law, rule or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety (See Sections 7(a) and 8(c)(2) of the Inspector General Act, as amended; DoD Directive 5106.01; and 5 U.S.C. §2302(b)(8)). Defense Department civilian employees (appropriated fund) may file reprisal complaints with the DoD IG Directorate for Whistleblower Reprisal Investigations (WRI), via the DoD Hotline. WRI investigates complaints of reprisal generally in accordance with Subchapter II, Chapter 12 of 5 U.S.C. §2302, and §7 of the Inspector General Act of 1978, as implemented by DoD Directive 5106.01. Many whistleblowers in this category file with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), which is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency. OSC is the primary government agency whose mission is to safeguard the merit system by protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially reprisal for whistleblowing. For more information and to view procedural steps for filing a reprisal complaint with OSC, you may visit their official website at: www.osc.gov. If you are a DoD appropriated fund civilian and you believe you have been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (to include sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination), national origin, age, mental or physical disability, or genetic information, or if you believe you have been retaliated against for having raised concerns about one of those issues, please contact your Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office. There is a 45-day filing deadline, so be sure to consult with your EEO advisor as soon as you believe you experienced an act of discrimination or other management wrongdoing. Matters of this nature DO NOT generally fall under the purview of the Inspector General, as established grievance and EEO channels are available to pursue recourse. Additionally, the U.S. Merit System Protection Board, (MSPB) which interprets the Federal Merit Systems Principles, is empowered to hear and decide complaints for corrective or disciplinary action when an agency is alleged to have committed a prohibited personnel practice. To view eligibility, procedures, and appeal filing procedures, please visit the MSPB e-Appeal site.

For Members of the Intelligence Community: Protected disclosures include disclosures where the employee reasonably believes there is a violation of law, rule, or regulation; gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, or an abuse of authority; a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety; or a matter of urgent concern made to: A supervisor in the employee’s chain of command The head of the employee’s agency The Inspector General of the Intelligence Community The DoD IG Congress The employee must first submit the complaint to the IG The IG has 14 days to make a credibility determination The complaint and credibility determination are sent to the Agency Head The Head of the agency sends the complaint to Intelligence Committees with comments Employee has right to communicate directly with Intelligence Committees of Congress if Head of agency deemed complaint not credible or complaint not accurately sent to Congress Examples of a matter of urgent concern are: Serious or flagrant problem, abuse, or violation of law or executive order Deficiency relating to the funding, administration, or operations of an intelligence activity involving classified information, but does not include differences of opinion on public matters False statements to or willful withholding from Congress on an issue of material fact relating to funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity Reprisal or threat of reprisal in response to reporting of an urgent concern

2: Did the responsible management official have knowledge of the protected...

Did the responsible management official have knowledge of the protected communication/disclosure OR did the responsible management official(s) believe a specific individual made a protected communication/disclosure, even if they did not?


Be prepared to explain why you believe any responsible official knew of the protected communication/disclosure before taking any personnel actions against you.

3: Was an unfavorable action taken (or, under some statutes, threatened)...

Was an unfavorable action taken (or, under some statutes, threatened), or was a positive action withheld (or, under some statutes, threatened to be withheld)?

For Military Members: A personnel action is defined as any action that affects or has the potential to affect the member’s current position or career. Such actions include promotions; disciplinary or corrective actions; transfers or reassignments; performance evaluations; decisions on pay, benefits, awards, or training; referrals for mental health evaluations; or any other significant changes in duties not consistent with the member’s grade. This is not an exhaustive list.

For Nonappropriated Fund (NAF) Employees: A personnel action is defined as an appointment; promotion; disciplinary or corrective action; a detail, transfer, or reassignment; a reinstatement, restoration, or reemployment; a decision concerning pay, benefits, awards, or training and education (education or training must reasonably be expected to lead to an appointment, promotion, or other action described here); any other significant changes in duties or responsibilities inconsistent with the employee’s salary and grade level.

For Defense Contractors and Subcontractors: Prohibited actions include discharging, demoting, or otherwise discriminating against an employee. Whether an unfavorable action was taken or threatened, or a favorable action withheld, is fact-dependent and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Have documentation for each personnel action available to submit, if available. You are encouraged to read the applicable definitions and filing requirements specific to your employee status for more details.

For Appropriated Fund Civilians: A personnel action is defined as an appointment; promotion; disciplinary or corrective actions; details, transfers, or reassignment; reinstatement; restoration; reemployment; performance evaluation; decisions concerning pay, benefits, awards, or education and training (education or training must reasonably be expected to lead to an appointment, promotion, performance evaluation, or other action described here); an order to psychiatric testing or exam; implementation or enforcement of a nondisclosure policy, form, or agreement; and significant changes to duties, responsibilities, or working conditions.

For Employees of the Intelligence Community: The term “Personnel Action” means an appointment, promotion, detail, transfer, reassignment, demotion, suspension, termination, reinstatement, restoration, reemployment, or performance evaluation; a decision concerning pay, benefits, or awards; a decision concerning education or training if the education or training may reasonably be expected to lead to an appointment, reassignment, promotion, or performance evaluation; a decision to order psychiatric testing or examination; and any other significant change in duties, responsibilities, or working conditions.


Filing a Whistleblower Reprisal Complaint

Whether an unfavorable action was taken or threatened, or a favorable action withheld or threatened to be withheld, is fact-dependent and evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  Have documentation for each personnel action available to submit, if available.  You are encouraged to read the applicable definitions and filing requirements specific to your employee status for more details. For help with filing your specific complaint, refer to the following guides created to assist you.  Click on the appropriate link below to download the guide for your particular status:

If your circumstances meet all three basic conditions, your complaint may meet the criteria for investigation. If you wish to proceed with a reprisal complaint, select the “File a Reprisal Complaint” button below.

 

 

Click Here to File a Whistleblower Reprisal Complaint


OR

If your circumstances do not meet all THREE conditions, then your complaint may be more appropriately addressed as a non-reprisal complaint; please select the “Hotline Complaint” button below.

Click Here to File a Hotline Complaint

Other Submittal Methods:

1.) Download one of the two forms below in PDF format:

2.) Send your form to the DoD Hotline via:

Fax Mail
1-703-604-8567
DoD Hotline
THE PENTAGON
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20301-1900

If you need help submitting a complaint, please view our Frequently Asked Questions or call the DoD Hotline at 1-800-424-9098 for assistance.