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Part Number: 931

Department of Energy Acquisition Regulation

931.205-47 Costs related to legal and other proceedings.

(h) Costs associated with whistleblower actions.

(1) Definitions for purposes of this paragraph (h):

Covered contractors and subcontractors means those contractors and subcontractors with contracts exceeding $5,000,000.

Employee whistleblower action means any action filed by an employee in Federal or state court for redress of a retaliatory act by a contractor and any administrative procedure initiated by an employee under 29 CFR part 24, 48 CFR subpart 3.9, 10 CFR part 708 or 42 U.S.C. 7239.

Retaliatory act means a discharge, demotion, reduction in pay, coercion, restraint, threat, intimidation or other similar negative action taken against an employee by a contractor as a result of an employee's activity protected as a whistleblower activity by a Federal or state statute or regulation.

Settlement and award costs means defense costs and costs arising from judicial orders, negotiated agreements, arbitration, or an order from a Federal agency or board and includes compensatory damages, underpayment for work performed, and reimbursement for a complainant employee's legal counsel.

(2) For costs associated with employee whistleblower actions where a retaliatory act is alleged against a covered contractor or subcontractor, the contracting officer -

(i) May authorize reimbursement of costs on a provisional basis, in appropriate cases;

(ii) Must consult with the Office of General Counsel whistleblower costs point of contact, who will consult with other Headquarters points of contact as appropriate, before making a final allowability determination; and

(iii) Must determine allowability of defense, settlement and award costs on a case-by-case basis after considering the terms of the contract, relevant cost regulations, and the relevant facts and circumstances, including federal law and policy prohibiting reprisal against whistleblowers, available at the conclusion of the employee whistleblower action.

(3) Covered contractors and subcontractors must segregate legal costs, including costs of in-house counsel, incurred in the defense of an employee whistleblower action so that the costs are separately identifiable.

(4) If a contracting officer provisionally disallows costs associated with an employee whistleblower action for a covered contractor or subcontractor, funds advanced by the Department may not be used to finance costs connected with the defense, settlement and award of an employee whistleblower action.

(5) Contractor defense, settlement and award costs incurred in connection with the defense of suits brought by employees under section 2 of the Major Fraud Act of 1988 are excluded from coverage of this section.