The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Inspector General (OIG) published its Semiannual Report to Congress covering April 1-September 30 of 2022. The document contains information about the OIG Whistleblower Protection Coordinator (WPC) Program and statistics about whistleblower investigations.
“Whistleblowers should never be subjected to, or threatened with, retaliation for having engaged in a protected communication or protected activity,” the report states. “The OIG plays a vital role in ensuring that DOL employees and employees of DOL grantees and contractors are informed of their rights and protections against retaliation for ‘blowing the whistle.’”
The report lays out different initiatives that the WPC has undertaken, including providing “live training to all DOL supervisors and managers” on responding to whistleblower retaliation complaints, and developing “training for new employees” about the whistleblower rights and protections of DOL employees. The WPC also “[u]pdated the DOL OIG public facing website titled ‘Whistleblower Protection Coordinator’” and “[m]onitored whistleblower retaliation complaints received by the OIG, as well as whistleblower retaliation investigations conducted by the OIG.”
According to the report, the DOL OIG “can initiate its own investigations into allegations of improper or illegal retaliation brought by DOL employees or, on a discretionary basis, refer such allegations to the OSC for review and investigation.”
A small chart reveals that there is one “[p]ending DOL employee complaint investigation,” one report pending with DOL, and two “[r]eports related to DOL employee whistleblower retaliation complaints sent to the appropriate agencies within the Department.”
Additionally, the chart states that there are five “[p]ending grantee/contractor employee complaint investigations” and two decisions issued by the DOL Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management (OASAM).
The report contains information about the DOL OIG’s activities and investigations throughout the stated time period: in total, 154 investigative cases were opened and 166 cases were closed. There were also 310 indictments and 216 convictions. The OIG recovered a total of $55,071,064, with the bulk of the amount, $52,792,200 related to program fraud and $2,341,864 related to labor racketeering.
Some of the cases the report highlights involve pandemic-related unemployment insurance fraud schemes, identity theft schemes, and elder fraud schemes. The report also provides legislative recommendations that cover a variety of areas.