Assistance and Protections
Seeking Advice or Assistance
To have a culture of scientific integrity, there must be policies and training to support that culture, a place to turn for advice to prevent lapses in scientific integrity, and a recourse procedure when lapses are alleged to have occurred. EPA's procedures focus on prevention by encouraging employees to identify situations early that could lead to violations and by providing for timely advice or assistance from the Scientific Integrity Official, the Deputy Scientific Integrity Officials and immediate supervisors
Reporting an Allegation of a Loss of Scientific Integrity
If advice and assistance does not resolve the issue, an allegation may be filed. To report an allegation of the loss of scientific or scholarly integrity, submit it in writing to the Scientific Integrity Official (ScIO), one of the Deputy Scientific Integrity Officials (DScIOs), or the Office of Inspector General.
Any matter concerning an allegation of a financial conflict of interest or other ethics issue involving federal employees will be referred to the appropriate Deputy Ethics Official or Office of General Counsel/Ethics.
Allegations may be submitted by individuals or entities, internal or external to the Agency. An initial notice of an allegation of scientific and scholarly misconduct or loss of integrity reported to the ScIO or DScIO should contain the following information:
- The name, affiliation and signature of the person(s) submitting the allegation and the name and organization of the person(s) alleged to have committed the misconduct or actions leading to the loss of integrity. If submitted electronically it must be from an email readily linked to the identity of the person submitting.
- A description of the alleged misconduct or loss of integrity that includes:
- An explanation of how the allegation relates to scientific and scholarly misconduct or loss of integrity and that demonstrates the impact of the alleged misconduct or loss of integrity.
- A statement explaining any personal or professional extenuating circumstances, non-scientific disagreements or conflict(s) of interest the person making the allegation has with the subject(s), entity(ies) or situation(s), named in the allegation.
- A statement indicating if this allegation is being considered or has been submitted elsewhere, such as:
- Another EPA office
- Court of law
- Other jurisdiction
- Complaint process
- Governmental office
Contacts for Reporting an Allegation
- Scientific Integrity Official
- Scientific Integrity Official: Francesca T. Grifo, Ph.D.
- Deputy Scientific Integrity Officials
- Office of Inspector General Hotline
- Office of General Counsel/Ethics
Whistleblower Protections at EPA
The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 bolstered the protections and rights found in the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989. The enhanced Act provides whistleblower protection for government scientists who challenge censorship of scientific information or make whistleblower disclosures related to the integrity of scientific processes. In response, the EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) has designated a Whistleblower Protection Coordinator to be responsible for educating employees about whistleblower protections, rights and remedies.