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Proposed FAR rule about prohibiting whistleblowing through non-disclosure agreements

On January 22, 2016, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FARC) published a proposed rule about contractor and subcontractor whistleblowers.

The proposed regulation implements § 743, Division E, Title VII, of Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 (Public Law 113-225, page 2391), which says:

None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this or any other Act may be available for a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement with an entity that requires employees or contractors of such entity seeking to report fraud, waste, or abuse to sign internal confidentiality agreements or statements prohibiting or otherwise restricting such employees or contactors from lawfully reporting such waste, fraud, or abuse to a designated investigative or law enforcement representative of a Federal department or agency authorized to receive such information.

The proposed rule requires contractors to affirm that they don’t have a confidentiality agreement with their employees that prohibit the employees or subcontractors from reporting waste, fraud, or abuse (being whistleblowers). The proposed rule also contains provisions about the applicability of this law to classified information.

Neither the proposed rule nor the law prohibit contractors from having nondisclosure agreements that prohibit employees or subcontractors from reporting waste, fraud, and abuse to the news media.

You must submit comments about the proposed rule on or before March 22, 2016.

Items on this web page are general in nature. They cannot—and should not—replace consultation with a competent legal professional. Nothing on this web page should be considered rendering legal advice.

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