Whistleblower Act encourages reporting, protects employees

whistlePULLMAN, Wash. – Washington state’s “Whistleblower Act,” RCW 42.40, was enacted to encourage state employees to report improper governmental actions. A whistleblower is entitled to protection from reprisal or retaliatory action.

“Improper governmental action” means action by an employee that violates state law, abuses authority, wastes public funds or endangers public health or safety.

The WSU Office of Internal Audit coordinates university whistleblower investigations with the state auditor’s office and central administrators.

Any state employee wishing to report suspected improper governmental action must notify the state auditor in writing. The notification should include a description of the improper action, date and location where it occurred, name of the employee(s) involved, agency and any other details necessary to conduct an investigation.

The state Whistleblower Online Reporting Form and more information can be found at http://www.sao.wa.gov/investigations/Pages/Whistleblower.aspx.

For an improper governmental action to be investigated, the report must be provided to the auditor within one year after the occurrence. If an employee wishes to be informed of the investigation results, he or she must include name, address and telephone number in the notification.

If a whistleblower believes that he or she has been the subject of retaliatory action, the whistleblower may file a claim with the Washington Human Rights Commission. The commission investigates the claim and takes appropriate action.

University policy related to the state whistleblower program may be found at BPPM 10.20 (http://public.wsu.edu/~forms/PDF/BPPM/10-20.pdf) or employees may contact the Office of Internal Audit at ia.central@wsu.edu.