The Whistleblower Program
What is the Whistleblower Act?
The Whistleblower Act, enacted by Washington State Legislature in 1982, encourages state employees to report improper governmental actions. The law makes retaliation against whistleblowers unlawful and authorizes remedies should it occur.
What is an improper governmental action?
An improper governmental action is defined as any action by an employee undertaken in the performance of the employee's official duties which:
- Gross mismanagement means the exercise of management responsibilities in a manner grossly deviating from the standard of care or competence that a reasonable person would observe in the same situation.
- Gross waste of funds means to spend or use funds or to allow funds to be used without valuable result in a manner grossly deviating from the standard of care or competence that a reasonable person would observe in the same situation.
(v) Which prevents the dissemination of scientific opinion or alters technical findings without scientifically valid justification, unless state law or a common law privilege prohibits disclosure.
(vi) Which violates the administrative procedure act or analogous provisions of law that prohibit ex parte communication regarding parties between the agency's employee and a presiding officer, hearing officer, or an administrative law judge regarding a pending agency matter.
The Whistleblower Act specifically excludes personnel actions for which other remedies exist. Excluded actions include: employee grievances, violations of state civil service laws, labor agreement violations, reprimands and other disciplinary actions.
Malicious or False Assertions
Duty of correctness—Penalties for false information.
- 6(a) Improper governmental action means any action by an employee undertaken in the performance of the employee's official duties:
(i) Which is a gross waste of public funds or resources as defined in this section;(ii) Which is in violation of federal or state law or rule, if the violation is not merely technical or of a minimum nature;(iii) Which is of substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety;(iv) Which is gross mismanagement;
- (b) But not limited to employee grievances, complaints, appointments, promotions, transfers, assignments, reassignments, reinstatements, restorations, reemployments, performance evaluations, reductions in pay, dismissals, suspensions, demotions, violations of the state civil service law, alleged labor agreement violations, reprimands, claims of discriminatory treatment, or any action which may be taken under chapter 41.06 RCW, or other disciplinary action.
How to report an improper governmental action
University employees, students or others may file complaints of improper governmental actions in the following ways:
1) Whistleblower Program
2) University Personnel
Current state employees may file a complaint with the State Auditor's Office directly, by completing the online Whistleblower Reporting Form or by filling in and submitting this printable form. The form may be submitted by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The form may also be mailed to:
Washington State Auditor's Office
ATTN: State Employee Whistleblower Program
P.O. Box 40031
Olympia, WA 98504-0031