A wide variety of federal and state laws shields employees from retaliation for reporting illegal acts of governmental entities or other public employees. An employer cannot retaliate in any way, such as discharging, demoting, suspending or harassing the whistleblower. This policy sets out protected activities and Council procedures for ensuring that protection.
What is protected whistleblowing?
Protected whistleblowing means disclosing information that a disclosing employee reasonably believes gives evidence of:
- a violation of law, rule, regulation, or Council policy,
- gross mismanagement,
- gross waste of funds,
- an abuse of authority, or
- a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
Prohibited personnel action
The Council may not retaliate against a whistleblower by taking, failing to take, or threatening to take any personnel action because of protected whistle blowing. A prohibited personnel action in this context means a suspension, termination or any other adverse action such as a disciplinary or corrective action, transfer, reassignment, or any other significant change in duties, responsibilities, or working conditions. This policy applies to current employees, naturally, as well as to former employees who believe they were retaliated against while still employed.
A whistleblower who files a false or unreasonable report of wrongdoing will be subject to discipline up to and including termination.
Procedures and remedies
An employee or former employee who believes he or she has been subjected to retaliation for protected whistleblowing may, within 60 days of the alleged retaliation, file a complaint with the Council’s Administrative Officer. The Administrative Officer may designate a Council employee or an independent individual from outside the Council to hear the complaint. The one who hears the complaint shall conduct a thorough investigation of the alleged retaliation. All employees are expected to cooperate fully with the investigation. Within 90 days, the complainant shall be provided with written proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendations. The complainant shall have the right to submit comments. Within 30 days of an adverse decision, the complainant may file an appeal with the Executive Director. The Executive Director may order such corrective or disciplinary action as is appropriate.
The confidentiality of the complainant will be preserved insofar as possible. His or her identity may have to be disclosed, however, to conduct a thorough investigation, to comply with law, or to afford accused individuals their legal rights of defense.
Policy not exclusive
The procedures and remedies provided by this policy do not prohibit a complainant from pursuing other remedies under applicable federal or state laws.
Latest revision approved by Executive Committee: February 14, 2007