Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The following questions provide information about hotline policy and procedures that you should review before you file a complaint:
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the purpose of the Hotline?
- Who may use the Hotline?
- What issues should you report to the Hotline?
- What other avenues of redress are available to resolve complaints?
- How do you submit a hotline complaint?
- Do you have to identify yourself?
- Does the IG take telephone complaints?
- Is there a time limit to file a complaint?
- What can you expect when you file a hotline complaint?
- What does the IG expect from someone who makes a complaint to the hotline?
- Do we guarantee we will conduct an investigation?
- How long does it take to investigate a complaint?
- Can you withdraw a complaint once you filed with the IG?
- How do you determine the status of your complaint or obtain a copy of the report?
- If you do not agree with the results of the investigation, can you ask for reconsideration?
1. Question: What is the purpose of the Hotline?
The purpose of the Hotline Program is to identify and eliminate fraud, waste, and inefficiencies in the operation of the Navy. To be effective, the program requires all personnel to be vigilant against the possibility of illegal or improper acts, and to report to the chain of command, or an IG, any improprieties in this regard.
2. Question: Who may use the Hotline?
Answer: Anyone may file a hotline complaint.
3. Question: What issues should you report to the Hotline?
Answer: The IG investigates matters involving:
- Abuse of Title or Position
- Bribes/Kickbacks/Acceptance of Gratuities
- Conflicts of Interest
- Ethics Violations
- False Official Statements/Claims
- Gifts (Improper receipt or giving)
- Improper Referral for Mental Health Evaluations
- Mismanagement/Organization Oversight (Significant Cases)
- Misuse of Official Time, Gov’t Property, Position and Public Office
- Political Activities
- Purchase Card Abuse
- Reprisal (Military Whistleblower Protection)
- Safety/Public Health (Substantial/Specific)
- Systemic Problems
- Time and Attendance (Significant Violations)
- Travel Card Abuse
- Travel Fraud (TDY and TAD)
- Waste (Gross)
Naval Inspectors General reserve the right to decline to investigate any matter brought to our attention. Generally, the Naval Inspector General refers complaints to the local IG for review and resolution.
4. Question: What other avenues of redress are available to resolve complaints?
Please review the Before You File site to determine other avenues of redress.
5. Question: How do you submit a hotline complaint?
Answer: We encourage you to submit the allegation(s) in writing by e-mail, fax, letter, or using the online complaint form. Our experience has shown that written complaints are more organized, provide more details, and are less emotional.
We will evaluate your complaint and request more information, if necessary. Keep in mind, if we conduct an investigation, you will be interviewed and you will be able to provide additional information and documents at that time.
6. Question: Do you have to identify yourself?
Answer. No. You may request confidentiality or anonymity.
You have two options when you request your identity remain confidential:
- Release your identity to the IG with the understanding that it will not be released to the investigator, or
- Identify yourself with the understanding that only the IG and the investigator will know who you are.
If you request confidentiality, we will make every effort to protect your identity from disclosure; however, we cannot guarantee confidentiality since disclosure may be required during the investigation or in the course of corrective action.
If you file your complaint anonymously, we will not know who you are. As such, we will not be able to contact you to request additional information or to give you the results of the investigation.
You may consider establishing an e-mail account using an internet service provider to submit an anonymous complaint; however, we will not respond to anonymous complaints submitted in this way since we have no way of verifying who you are.
7. Question: Does the IG take telephone complaints?
Answer: We will provide you assistance if you contact an IG by telephone. If you wish to submit a complaint, we will suggest you submit your complaint and any supporting documentation in writing. Based on experience, we have found this to be the best way to serve you. If the IG conducts an investigation, you will be contacted for an interview.
8. Question: Is there a time limit to file a complaint?
Generally, you should submit your complaint within 90 days of the date the alleged wrongdoing occurred. However, we will consider complaints over 90 days old if you can demonstrate you were unable to meet the time requirement due to extraordinary circumstances or unforeseen delays.
9. Question: What can you expect when you file a hotline complaint?
- An investigator will evaluate your complaint and determine if the matter warrants investigation or if we should refer your complaint to other authorities or the command for a response.
- We will send a confirmation letter to let you know what action was taken on your complaint if you provide your name and address. We are unable to notify anonymous complainants of the results of an investigation if we do not have an e-mail address.
- Don't expect instant action on your request... be patient.
10. Question: What does the IG expect from someone who makes a complaint to the hotline?
Answer: The IG expects you to provide answers to the questions listed on Step 3. Remember, the more information you provide the IG, the better he/she can assist you. Be prepared to provide supporting evidence.
In accordance with SECNAVINST 5370.5B, the use of the Hotline program to file knowingly false complaints is a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001 (2003) and Title 18, Chapter 47, United States Code (Uniform Code of Military Justice). Those suspected of willfully and knowingly filing false complaints are subject to prosecution and/or administrative action.
11. Question: Do we guarantee we will conduct an investigation?
Answer: Generally, the NSW IG does not accept a complaint if:
(1) As stated above, you do not submit your complaint within 90 days ;
(2) You have not addressed your issue with the local command;
(3) You have not used an appropriate complaint process for military and civilian employees such as Board for Correction of Naval Records, Equal Opportunity/Equal Employment Opportunity, Administrative Grievance Procedure, etc.;
(4) Another investigation is being conducted into the matter.
12. Question: How long does it take to investigate a complaint?
Answer: Most investigations are completed within 90 days, but can take longer depending on the complexity of the case.
13. Question: Can you withdraw a complaint once you filed with the IG?
No, once a complainant makes an allegation, he/she cannot withdraw the allegation or prevent the IG from proceeding with the investigation.
14. Question: How do you determine the status of your complaint or obtain a copy of the report?
Answer: Contact the IG office where you submitted your complaint.
While the investigation is ongoing, we can only tell you whether the case is open.
Once the investigation is closed, the IG will send you a letter to inform you that your allegations were substantiated or unsubstantiated.
If you wish to obtain more information about the case, you may submit a request under the Freedom of Information Act to the IG office that conducted the investigation to obtain a copy of the report.
15. Question: If you do not agree with the results of the investigation, can you ask for reconsideration?
Answer: Yes. If you have new information to support your complaint, the case may be reconsidered. If, on the other hand, you are merely unhappy because you do not agree with the outcome, the IG will not conduct another investigation.