DU attorneys evaluate the disclosures to determine whether or not there is a substantial likelihood that one of the following conditions has been disclosed: a violation of law, rule or regulation, gross mismanagement, gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, and a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety. Disclosures are reviewed in the order they are received with disclosures of dangers to public health and safety receiving high priority.
OSC will generally not consider anonymous disclosures. If a disclosure is filed by an anonymous source, the disclosure will be referred to the Office of Inspector General in the appropriate agency. OSC will take no further action on the disclosure.
OSC does not have authority to investigate the disclosures that it receives. In order to make a "substantial likelihood" finding, OSC considers a number of factors including whether the disclosure includes reliable, first-hand information. In general, OSC does not request an agency head to conduct an investigation based on the whistleblower’s second-hand knowledge of agency wrongdoing. Individuals with first-hand knowledge of the allegations are encouraged to file disclosures in writing directly with OSC.
Similarly, speculation about the existence of misconduct does not provide OSC with a sufficient legal basis upon which to send a matter to the head of an agency. If a whistleblower believes that wrongdoing took place, but can provide no information to support that assertion, OSC will not be able to refer the allegations to the head of the agency for an investigation.
If OSC finds no substantial likelihood that the information discloses one or more of the categories of wrongdoing, the whistleblower is notified of the reasons the disclosure may not be acted on further and directed to other offices available for receiving disclosures. Allegations of retaliation or other prohibited personnel practices need to be sent to OSC’s Complaints Examining Unit (CEU) using OSC Form 11, not DU. Whistleblowers, however, may make concurrent complaints about prohibited personnel practices and agency wrongdoing, in other words a violation(s) of law, rule or regulation, gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, and/or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, by filing OSC Form 11 and OSC Form 12, respectively.