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How To File A Complaint Under
The Inspector General Act Of 1978, As Amended With the
Merit Systems Protection Board


Anyone who suspects that a member of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) staff has committed fraud, waste, abuse, gross mismanagement or engaged in conduct that presents a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety involving MSPB programs or activities should contact the MSPB Office of the General Counsel (OGC).  The OGC is charged with performing the investigative functions for the Merit Systems Protection Board as required by the Inspector General Act of 1978, 5 U.S.C. Appendix 3, (IG Act), as amended. 

Complaints may also be filed using the IG Hotline at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General. (See below)  Complaints filed with the USDA OIG are forwarded to the MSPB OGC for further action.

Reports may be made in person, by telephone, postal mail, electronic mail, fax, or online using the following contact information:

In Person and Postal Mail: U. S. Merit Systems Protection Board, 1615 M Street NW, Washington, DC   20419
Telephone: (800) 424-9121 (Toll-free Hotline - maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Inspector General)

(202) 690-1622 (Washington, DC Hotline - maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Inspector General)

(202) 690-1202 (TDD)

e-mail: inspector.general@mspb.gov
Fax: (202) 653-7207
Online: Go to online form

When filing a complaint, employees and other complainants should convey as much detail as possible on the matter including the identity of the person(s) alleged to have engaged in the prohibited activity; a sufficient description of the alleged activity or conduct; when and where the activity or incident occurred; and why the informant or complainant believes that the activity or conduct constitutes fraud, waste, abuse, gross mismanagement or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.  The identity of and contact information for other witnesses would also be helpful.

NOTE: The IG complaint process, including the hotline, should not be used in place of established statutory and regulatory procedures applicable to discrimination complaints, grievances, or appeals of personnel actions.

Confidentiality Information - The identity of complainants is protected under the provisions of the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 (PDF) and the Inspector General Act of 1978 (PDF)

The complainant's identity may remain confidential (i.e., known only to the USDA OIG or MSPB OGC), or anonymous (i.e., unknown even to the USDA OIG or MSPB OGC). If the complainant chooses to remain anonymous, MSPB cannot obtain additional information regarding the allegation from the complainant (e.g., testimonial or documentary evidence or identity of witnesses), and cannot inform the complainant as to what action MSPB has taken on the complaint. Confidential status allows further communication between MSPB and the complainant after the original complaint is received.  Of course, a complainant may permit his or her identity to be known by all parties involved in the IG matter and allow his or her name to be used at the outset and throughout the process (i.e., included in any investigation that may take place).

The General Counsel, in carrying out the agency's IG responsibilities, is prohibited under the Inspector General Act from disclosing the identity of the employee without the consent of the employee unless the IG determines such disclosure is unavoidable during the course of the investigation.  The Whistleblower Protection Act prohibits disclosure of a complainant's identity unless the Special Counsel determines that the disclosure of the individual's identity is necessary because of an imminent danger to public health or safety or imminent violation of any criminal law.

Limits on Protection against Retaliation - The statutory protection against reprisal for making a complaint or disclosing information to an Inspector General does not apply when a complaint is made or the information is disclosed with the knowledge that it was false or with willful disregard for its truth or falsity.