Whistleblower Act allows state employees to report suspected improper action without reprisal

Western Today staff

The Whistleblower Act (Chapter 42.41 Revised Code of Washington), enacted by the Washington State Legislature in 1982 and amended in 1999 and 2008, provides an avenue for state employees to report suspected improper governmental action.

The law defines improper governmental action:

  • A gross waste of public funds or resources;
  • A violation of state or federal law;
  • Substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety;
  • Gross mismanagement; or
  • Activity which prevents dissemination of scientific opinion or alters technical findings without scientifically valid justification.

The Legislative intent is to encourage state employees to disclose improper governmental actions and protects the rights of state employees making disclosures. A whistleblower is defined in the law to be an employee who makes a report in good faith or is an employee perceived to have provided information to the State Auditor’s Office or another public official in connection with an investigation.

Further information on the Whistleblower Program may be found on the State Auditor’s Office website under the Investigations Section. Information and Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the Office of the Internal Auditor’s website. Both sites have links to the Whistleblower Reporting Form. To view Western’s Administering the State Employee Whistleblower Act policy, please see POL-U1000.15.

Specific questions about the Whistleblower Program can be addressed to Internal Audit Director Kim Herrenkohl at (360) 650-3435.

Thursday, January 20, 2011